This week, our pick of articles looks at why people cheat and behave unethically.
The influence of guilt cognitions on taxpayers’ voluntary disclosures
Guilt is a powerful emotion that is known to influence ethical decision-making. Nevertheless, the role of guilt cognitions in influencing restorative behaviour following an unethical action is not well understood.
Guilt cognitions are interrelated beliefs about an individual’s role in a negative event. The researchers experimentally investigate the joint impact of three guilt cognitions—responsibility for a decision, justification for a decision, and foreseeability of consequences—on a taxpayer’s decision to make a tax amnesty disclosure. Tax amnesties encourage delinquent taxpayers to self-correct to avoid severe penalties that would result if their tax evasion were discovered.
The findings suggest a three-way interaction effect such that taxpayers are likely to make tax amnesty disclosures when they foresee that they will be caught by the tax authority, unless they can diffuse responsibility for their evasion and justify their evasion. Implications for tax policy and tax professionals are discussed.
Paul Dunn, Jonathan Farrar and Cass Hausserman. 2018. The Influence of Guilt Cognitions on Taxpayers’ Voluntary Disclosures.
Journal of Business Ethics, 148(3), 689–701.
Villains, victims, and verisimilitudes: Unethical corporate values, bullying, psychopathy and selling professionals’ ethical reasoning
This study assesses the relationships among unethical corporate values, bullying experiences, psychopathy, and selling professionals’ ethical evaluations of bullying. Information was collected from national/regional samples of selling professionals. Results indicated that unethical values, bullying, and psychopathy were positively interrelated.
Psychopathy and unethical values were negatively associated with moral intensity, while moral intensity was positively related to ethical issue importance. Psychopathy and unethical values were negatively related to issue importance, and issue importance and moral intensity were positively related to ethical judgment.
Finally, ethical judgment and moral intensity were positively linked to ethical intention; psychopathy was negatively associated with ethical intention.
Sean Valentine, Gary Fleischman and Lynn Godkin. 2018. Villains, Victims, and Verisimilitudes: An Exploratory Study of Unethical Corporate Values, Bullying Experiences, Psychopathy, and Selling Professionals’ Ethical Reasoning.
Journal of Business Ethics, 148(1), 135–154.
CSR through the lens of domestic violence and the workplace in the 21st century
Domestic violence is a serious issue, and the costs for business of failing to address the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace are high. New technologies and economic shifts towards services sector industries are fast dissolving the boundaries between the workplace and the home in many national labour markets.
Moreover, companies are now expected to meet higher standards of behaviour in fulfilling their responsibilities to employees and wider society. These developments present challenges for ethical reasoning about the limits of employer responsibility in relation to domestic violence. While a number of possible approaches have something to contribute, this paper argues that feminist theories provide the most useful framework for ethical reasoning about the issues domestic violence raises for business organisations.
The practical value of such reasoning is then illustrated by applying the organising framework developed by Yuan et al. (J Bus Ethics 101:75—92, 2011) to examine how recurring domestic violence-related initiatives can be integrated as routine practices in firm operations. The paper thus provides a structured qualitative study of theory and practice for dealing with the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace.
Alice de Jonge. 2018. Corporate Social Responsibility Through a Feminist Lens: Domestic Violence and the Workplace in the 21st Century.
Journal of Business Ethics, 148(3), 471-487.
Faking it for the higher-ups: Status and surface acting in workplace meetings
Recent evidence suggests that surface acting occurs in workplace meetings. Even in light of these findings, it remains unknown why employees would choose to surface act in meetings with their colleagues and supervisors, and how this form of emotion regulation affects employees in the short term.
A sample of working adults were asked to report their levels of surface acting during multiple workplace meetings. Results indicate that employees engage in surface acting during meetings, and that their surface acting is positively related to the presence of higher status attendees in these meetings.
In addition, surface acting during meetings is negatively related to perceptions of both meeting psychological safety and meeting effectiveness. The authors also highlight the important role of one’s job level as a moderating condition when examining the relationship between surface acting and perceived meeting effectiveness.
The results suggest that individuals who are higher up in an organisation’s hierarchy may perceive meetings as less effective when they surface act when compared with individuals who are in lower levels of the organisation.
Read this Open Access article for free online.
Jane Shumski Thomas, Jessie L. Olien, Joseph A. Allen, S.G. Rogelberg & J.E. Kello. 2018. Faking It for the Higher-Ups: Status and Surface Acting in Workplace Meetings.
Group & Organization Management, 43(1), 72-100
Outcomes of perceptions of others’ entitlement behaviour
Supervisor–subordinate work relationships are based on a series of potentially fluctuating resource allocation episodes. Building on this reality, the researchers hypothesised in the present research that supervisor–subordinate work relationship quality will neutralise the negative attitudinal and behavioural strain effects associated with perceptions of others’ entitlement behaviour.
The investigators draw upon the transactional theory of stress, and the social exchange and support features of leader–member exchange theory, to explain the expected neutralising effects on job tension, job satisfaction, and contextual performance/citizenship behaviour.
Results supported study hypotheses in Sample 1. Findings were replicated in Sample 2 and extended by also demonstrating the interaction effect on task performance. Contributions to theory and research, strengths and limitations, directions for future work, and practical implications are discussed.
Kaylee J. Hackney, Liam P. Maher, Shanna R. Daniels, Wayne A. Hochwarter, Gerald R. Ferris. 2018. Performance, Stress, and Attitudinal Outcomes of Perceptions of Others’ Entitlement Behavior: Supervisor–Subordinate Work Relationship Quality as Moderator in Two Samples.
Group & Organization Management, 43(1), 101-137.
The unethical monetisation of business schools (and what we can do about it)
We may take for granted that the business school context promotes and rewards ethical research, teaching, and service. The author provides an alternative perspective, describing how the context, especially at mid-level tier schools, can offer the opportunity, motivation, and rationalisation for significant (in depth and breadth) unethical monetisation schemes.
Richard Arend lists such schemes, describe possible solutions, and appeals to those handling oversight and misdeeds to act.
Richard J. Arend. 2018. The Unethical Monetization of Business Schools (and What We Can Do About It).
Journal of Management Inquiry, 27(1), 96-100.
Why do people cheat?
Despite substantial research on cheating, how and when individual predispositions figure into cheating behaviour remains unclear. In Study 1, the researchers investigated to what extent Honesty-Humility predicted cheating behaviour. As expected, individuals high on Honesty-Humility were less likely to cheat than were individuals low on this trait.
In Study 2, integrating arguments from personality research about traits with arguments from behavioural ethics about moral primes, these authors examined how Honesty-Humility and situational primes interacted to affect cheating. The researchers found an interaction indicating that individuals high on Honesty-Humility consistently did not cheat much across situational primes, whereas individuals low on Honesty-Humility cheated more when exposed to immoral primes than when exposed to moral primes.
This research invites reflection about the interplay of individual differences in Honesty-Humility and situational cues in predicting cheating, including the design of anti-cheating systems and the context in which these person and situation factors interact.
Emmanuelle P. Kleinlogel, Joerg Dietz and John Antonakis. 2018. Lucky, Competent, or Just a Cheat? Interactive Effects of Honesty-Humility and Moral Cues on Cheating Behavior.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(2), 158–172.
Relationships between servant leadership, organisational commitment and voice, and antisocial behaviours
This study examines the relationships of servant leadership to organisational commitment, voice behaviours, and antisocial behaviours. Adopting a multifaceted approach to commitment, the authors hypothesised that servant leadership would be positively related to affective, normative, and perceived sacrifice commitment, but unrelated to few alternatives commitment.
The writers further hypothesised that affective commitment would be positively related to voice behaviours, controlling for the other commitment components, and would mediate a positive relationship between servant leadership and voice behaviours. Similarly, the authors hypothesised that normative commitment would be negatively related to antisocial behaviours, controlling for the other commitment components, and would mediate a negative relationship between servant leadership and antisocial behaviours.
These predictions were tested using matched data from a sample of 181 Canadian customer service employees and their managers. Results largely supported the above predictions. Importantly, affective commitment mediated a positive relationship between servant leadership and voice behaviours. Yet, while servant leadership was positively related to normative commitment and the latter was negatively related to antisocial behaviours, the indirect effect of servant leadership on these behaviours through normative commitment was nonsignificant. Theoretical implications and future research directions are discussed.
Émilie Lapointe and Christian Vandenberghe. 2018. Examination of the Relationships Between Servant Leadership, Organizational Commitment, and Voice and Antisocial Behaviors.
Journal of Business Ethics, 148(1), 99–115.