The Role of Moral Disengagement in the Contagion of Pro-group Unethical Behavior

Ningyi ZHU, Long Wai LAM, Na Yolanda LI, Qi SHAO

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

Pro-group unethical behavior is a kind of behavior that violates moral standards while benefitting the actor’s team. In this study, we enrich the understanding of its causes by investigating whether being exposed to coworkers’ pro-group unethical behavior induces employees to engage in the same unethical behavior. We theorize that employees’ moral disengagement explains the link between coworkers’ pro-group unethical behavior and employees’ pro-group unethical behavior, and that the effect is contingent on the employees’ level of team identification. We conducted three field studies to examine our research model. In Study 1, we obtained evidence supporting the indirect effect of coworkers’ pro-group unethical behavior on employees’ pro-group unethical behavior via moral disengagement. In Study 2, our results also showed the direct effect of coworkers’ pro-group unethical behavior on employees’ pro-group unethical behavior in addition to the indirect effect. In Study 3, our analyses suggested that the proposed indirect effect is contingent on team identification. Employees were more likely to learn pro-group unethical behavior from their coworkers through moral disengagement under high team identification rather than low team identification. These results were consistent with our expectation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2021
Event81st Annual Meeting of Academy of Management: Bring the manager back in Management - Virtual
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021
https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting/annual-meeting-theme-2021

Conference

Conference81st Annual Meeting of Academy of Management
Abbreviated titleAMO2021
Period29/07/214/08/21
Internet address

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