Will the Collapse of the American Dream Lead to a Decline in Ethical Business Behavior

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This study compares employee attitudes to their reports of whether they consider their socio-economic status to be higher, the same, or lower than that of their parents. The premise of the research was based on the apparent deterioration of the expectation that each generation will live in greater economic comfort than their parents, referred to as a vital component of the American dream. Where this pattern of socio-economic progress has been interrupted, it may relate to certain attitudes. These attitudes, in turn, are likely to influence behavior. Here the focus is on whether employees' survey responses indicate they are honest, trustworthy, and tolerant. Differences in these characteristics that relate to self-reported socio- economic progress, may serve to explain the occurrence of certain behaviors among people who otherwise seem highly ethical. This information may also help create organizational awareness of the potential for unethical behavior, when employees have been blocked from their own expectations for betterment.

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