The Effects of Victim Anonymity on Unethical Behavior

Journal of Business Ethics 136 (1):13-22 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

We theorize that victim anonymity is an important factor in ethical decision making, such that actors engage in more self-interested and unethical behaviors toward anonymous victims than they do toward identifiable victims. Three experiments provided empirical support for this argument. In Study 1, participants withheld more life-saving products from anonymous than from identifiable victims. In Study 2, participants allocated a sum of payment more unfairly when interacting with an anonymous than with an identifiable partner. Finally, in Study 3, participants cheated more from an anonymous than from an identifiable person. Anticipated guilt fully mediated these effects in all three studies. Taken together, our research suggests that anonymous victims may be more likely to incur unethical treatment, which could explain many unethical business behaviors.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,215

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Ethics in Declining Organizations.Marshall Schminke - 1991 - Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (3):235-248.
Navigating the Unknown: Towards a Positive Conception of Anonymity.Julie Ponesse - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (3):320-344.
Unethical Demand and Employee Turnover.Lamar Pierce & Jason A. Snyder - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 131 (4):853-869.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-09-03

Downloads
30 (#391,301)

6 months
1 (#449,220)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?