Self-Construal and Unethical Behavior

Journal of Business Ethics 109 (4):447-461 (2012)
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Abstract

We suggest that understanding unethical behavior in organizations involves understanding how people view themselves and their relationships with others, a concept known as self-construal. Across multiple studies, employing both field and laboratory settings, we examine the impact of three dimensions of self-construal (independent, relational, and collective) on unethical behavior. Our results show that higher levels of relational self-construal relate negatively to unethical behavior. We also find that differences in levels of relational self for men and women mediate gender differences in unethical behavior. We discuss both the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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