Journal of Business Ethics 108 (3):347-359 (2012)

Abstract
This study examined some ethical implications of two different individual competitive orientations. Winning is crucially important in hypercompetitiveness , whereas a personal development (PD) perspective considers competition as a means to self-discovery and self-improvement. In a sample of 263 senior-level undergraduate business students, survey results suggested that hypercompetitiveness was generally associated with “poor ethics” and PD competitiveness was linked with “high ethics”. For example, hypercompetitive individuals generally saw nothing wrong with self-interested gain at the expense of others, but PD competitors viewed such activities as largely inappropriate. Hypercompetitive people also tended to be highly Machiavellian but not ethically idealistic. In contrast, PD competitors tended to be ethically idealistic but not Machiavellian. Managers that are interested in both high ethics and high functioning work groups may wish to consider the potential importance of attempting to channel hypercompetitive tendencies into PD directions.
Keywords Competitiveness  Ethical judgments  Machiavellianism  Idealism
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-1094-4
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