This study examines the impact of a social desirability response bias as a personality characteristic (self-deception and impression management) and as an item characteristic (perceived desirability of the behavior) on self-reported ethical conduct. Findings from a sample of college students revealed that self-reported ethical conduct is associated with both personality and item characteristics, with perceived desirability of behavior having the greatest influence on self-reported conduct. Implications for research in business ethics are drawn, and suggestions are offered for reducing the effects (...) of a socially desirable response bias. (shrink)
The study assesses how a social desirability (SD) bias influences the relationship between several independent and dependent variables commonly investigated in ethics research. The effect of a SD bias was observed when a questionnaire was administered under varying conditions of anonymity and with different measurement techniques for the SD construct. Findings reveal that a SD bias is present in the majority of relationships studied, and it most frequently plays a moderating role. While the measure of SD influences the strength and (...) type of relationship, condition of anonymity has relatively little effect on the level of SD. (shrink)
The present study applied Ajzen's (1985) theory of planned behavior to the explanation of ethical decision making. Nurses in three hospitals were provided with scenarios that depicted inadequate patient care and asked if they would report health professionals responsible for the situation. Study results suggest that the theory of planned behavior can explain a significant amount of variation in the intent to report a colleague. Attitude toward performing the behavior explained a large portion of the variance; subjective norms explained a (...) moderate amount of the variance; and, perceived behavioral control added little to the explanation of variance. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
Extensive interest in business ethics has developed accompanied by an increase in empirical research on the determinants of unethical conduct. In setting forth the theory of reasoned action, Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) maintained that research attention on such variables as personality traits and demographic characteristics is misplaced and, instead, researchers should focus on behavioral intentions and the beliefs that shape those intentions. This study summarizes business ethics research which tests the theory of reasoned action and suggests directions for further research.
Despite the prevalence of elective business ethics courses, little research has sought to explain and predict why some students enroll in these courses and while others do not. Using the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen and Madden, 1986) as a theoretical foundation, 178 graduate students in Ireland were surveyed about their intention to sign up for an elective ethics class. Their behavior was measured two months later. The results reveal the power of the theory of planned behavior to explain and (...) predict who takes elective ethics classes. (shrink)