David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 15 (8):851 - 861 (1996)
Two contrasting types of individuals were each predicted to agree, for different reasons, that conventional ethical standards of society need not be upheld if organizational interests appear to demand otherwise. The hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from two samples (employed and student, total N=308). Clear support was obtained for the prediction that individuals inclined toward self-interest and behavior counter to conventional standards would agree with the preceding position. Partial support was obtained for the hypothesis that individuals who simply feel obligated to support an employing organization would also agree. While the latter's perspective may be somewhat narrow or perhaps even cynical, they do not seem to reflect the self-interest profile of the first group. This study also extends the groundbreaking work of Froelich and Kottke by exploring individual difference correlates of their promising ethics scale assessing the extent of agreement that organizational interests legitimately supersede more conventional ethical standards.
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