Journal of Business Ethics 46 (3):213 - 234 (2003)

Diana Robertson
University of Pennsylvania
We explore two dimensions of situational factors expected to influence decision-making about ethical issues among sales representatives – universal vs. particular and direct vs. indirect. We argue that these distinctions are important theoretically, methodologically, and managerially. We test our hypotheses by means of a survey of 252 sales representatives. Our results confirm that considering universal and particular and direct and indirect situational factors contributes to our understanding of decision-making about ethical issues within a sales context, specifically willingness to engage in an unethical act. We also find that personal factors act independently and interact with situational factors in decision-making about ethical issues. Both demographic factors, age and gender, and personality factors, Machiavellianism and self-monitoring, have main effects on decision-making, and some of these factors interact with situational factors to affect decision-making. For example, age of the decision-maker (younger) and size of commission (larger) interact such that the likelihood of choosing an unethical alternative is greater.
Keywords decision-making about ethical issues  direct vs. indirect  person-situation interaction  salespeople  situational factors  universal vs. particular
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1025563624696
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