Moral Differentiation: Exploring Boundaries of the “Monkey See, Monkey Do” Perspective [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 102 (3):379-399 (2011)
Research in ethical decision making has consistently demonstrated a positive relationship between others’ unethical behavior and observers’ unethical behavior, providing support for the “Monkey See, Monkey Do” perspective (e.g., Robinson and O’Leary-Kelly, Acad Manage J 41:658–672, 1998 ). However, the boundaries of this relationship have received little research attention. Guided by theory and research in interpersonal distancing, we explore these boundaries by proposing and examining “moral differentiation,” the set of individual and situational characteristics that affect the degree to which one is willing to be influenced by others’ unethical behavior. Using data from 655 undergraduate business students in two U.S. universities, we test moderating hypotheses regarding the influence of moral differentiation characteristics on the relationship between others’ unethical behavior and observers’ unethical behavior. Results suggest that strong moral identity, low need for affiliation, and extraversion weaken the relationship between others’ unethical behavior and observers’ unethical behavior. Implications for managers and future research are discussed.
Keywords ethical decision making  extraversion  interpersonal distancing  moral differentiation  moral identity  need for affiliation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-0820-2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Marshall Schminke (1991). Ethics in Declining Organizations. Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (3):235-248.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

9 ( #245,779 of 1,724,889 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,588 of 1,724,889 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.