Favoritism is a controversial issue in many cultural settings. Related terms include nepotism and cronyism; all three are identified with misconduct in the merit-based business world. The flip side is ethics — the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group (Merriam-Webster, 2012). According to John Dewey (1902), “Ethics is the science that deals with conduct insofar as this is considered to be right or wrong, good or bad.” Since favoritism is perceived as being linked to workplace misconduct, it is necessary to use ethics in examining this issue. The current study applied four lenses of ethics identified by Shapiro and Stefkovich (2011) to help people deal with ethical challenges: justice, critique, care, and the profession. Findings have implications for criteria used to handle ethical challenges in the workplace.

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