Organizational philosophy, policies, and objectives related to unethical decision behavior: A laboratory experiment

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Abstract

Evaluated unethical decision behavior under different policy and environmental conditions. A laboratory methodology used a simulated marketing decision task that was expanded to include an ethical decision. Ss were 165 graduate business students who made a series of decisions on whether to pay a kickback or not. In Exp I, when Ss were given a letter from the corporate president supporting ethical behavior, their ethical behavior was higher than for Ss who received a letter that did not support ethical behavior. The size of the kickback resulted in a directional effect, but the effect was not statistically significant. In Exp II, profit goals did not significantly influence ethical behavior, but an organizational ethics policy was found to significantly reduce unethical decision behavior. In both studies, foreign nationality, Machiavellianism (Mach V Scale), and economic value orientation (Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values) were positively related to unethical decision behavior. In addition, a post hoc analysis showed than an ethical predisposition measure was strongly related to ethical decision behavior. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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