Journal of Business Ethics 162 (1):103-122 (2020)

Ethical attitudes and behaviour are complex. This complexity extends to the influencers operating at different levels both outside and within the organisation, and in different combinations for different individuals. There is hence a growing need to understand the proximal and distal influencers of ethical attitudes, and how these operate in concert at the individual, organisational, and societal levels. Few studies have attempted to combine these main research streams and systematically examine their combined impact. The minority of studies that have taken a combined approach have often done so using conventional statistical and analytical techniques which imply linearity between variables—a situation that rarely exists in business settings and is likely to lead to simplistic or even erroneous conclusions. Applying a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis approach, this paper reports on the mutual and simultaneous influence of individual demographic factors, as well as proximal and distal factors stemming from within and outside the work environment to understand individuals’ ethical views within the workplace. The multiple configurations that emerged reveal the complex nature of influencers of ethical attitudes, and reinforce the view that “one size does not fit all”. We discuss these implications together with managerial recommendations and future research directions.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-018-4011-2
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