The Moderating Role of Context in Determining Unethical Managerial Behavior: A Case Survey

Journal of Business Ethics 153 (3):793-812 (2018)
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Abstract

We examine the moderating role of the situational and organizational contexts in determining unethical managerial behavior, applying the case-survey methodology. On the basis of a holistic, multiple-antecedent perspective, we hypothesize that two key constructs, moral intensity and situational strength, help explain contextual moderating effects on relationships between managers’ individual characteristics and unethical behavior. Based on a quantitative analysis of 52 case studies describing occurrences of real-life unethical conduct, we find empirical support for the hypothesized contextual moderating effects of moral intensity and situational strength. By examining these complex contextual moderators, we aim to contribute to organizational ethics research as we shed light on the critical role that context may play in influencing unethical managerial behavior.

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