Examining the moral grey zone: The role of moral disengagement, authenticity, and situational strength in predicting unethical managerial behavior

  • Knoll M
  • Lord R
  • Petersen L
 et al. 
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Abstract In the business context, there is a broad spectrum of practices that potentially harm others, yet might benefit the organization.We examined the influence of individual and situational differences in predicting (un)ethical behavior in these moral gray zones using an in-basket exercise that included covert moral issues in which manag- ers could give unethical instructions to their followers. Results show that individual differences in moral disengagement directly predicted unethical behavior and func- tioned as a mediator of the relationship between authenticity and unethical behav- ior. Furthermore, effects differed in weak compared to strong situations. Study 2, replicated the results from Study 1, developed a direct test of the situational strength hypothesis, and showed that high versus low situation strength moderated the rela- tion ofmoral disengagement to unethical behavior.

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  • Michael Knoll

  • Robert G. Lord

  • Lars Eric Petersen

  • Oliver Weigelt

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