Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

Morehead State University

KY House District #

60

KY Senate District #

11

Department

College of Business and Technology

Abstract

Title: An Inductive Study of Perceived Susceptibility to Unethical Behavior

Student: Sydney Gebka

Faculty Mentor: Johnathan K. Nelson, Ph.D.

Institution: Morehead State University

Department: College of Business and Technology – School of Business Administration

Well-publicized ethics scandals and research on ethical behavior provide evidence that just as everyone is capable of making mistakes, the vast majority of individuals are capable of making unethical decisions. Despite this evidence though, the vast majority of people tend to think of themselves as very ethical people. However, there is often a gap between how ethical people are compared to how ethical they perceive themselves to be. While individuals differ in the level of trust they places in themselves to make ethical decisions in the workplace, we tend to view ourselves as more ethical than we really are. While research to date has largely focused on reasons why we fail to live up to our highest ethical ideals, we believe that it is important to examine those situations where we are aware of our capacity to engage in unethical behavior. We define this awareness of our potential to enact unethical behavior, perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. Because little attention has been paid to this construct, we conducted an inductive research study to develop a model of behaviors and outcomes associated with perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. We report the experiences and outcomes of individuals who have experienced this perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. We examined the perceptions people have of themselves and the actions they take as a result of experiencing perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. We developed a construct to define what makes individuals susceptible to making unethical decisions in the workplace. We discuss the implications of perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior for creating a greater openness for individuals to discuss ethical temptations, to be more open to interventions for promoting ethical behavior, and actions taken to reduce their level of perceived susceptibility for making unethical decisions.

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An Inductive Study of Perceived Susceptibility to Unethical Behavior

Title: An Inductive Study of Perceived Susceptibility to Unethical Behavior

Student: Sydney Gebka

Faculty Mentor: Johnathan K. Nelson, Ph.D.

Institution: Morehead State University

Department: College of Business and Technology – School of Business Administration

Well-publicized ethics scandals and research on ethical behavior provide evidence that just as everyone is capable of making mistakes, the vast majority of individuals are capable of making unethical decisions. Despite this evidence though, the vast majority of people tend to think of themselves as very ethical people. However, there is often a gap between how ethical people are compared to how ethical they perceive themselves to be. While individuals differ in the level of trust they places in themselves to make ethical decisions in the workplace, we tend to view ourselves as more ethical than we really are. While research to date has largely focused on reasons why we fail to live up to our highest ethical ideals, we believe that it is important to examine those situations where we are aware of our capacity to engage in unethical behavior. We define this awareness of our potential to enact unethical behavior, perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. Because little attention has been paid to this construct, we conducted an inductive research study to develop a model of behaviors and outcomes associated with perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. We report the experiences and outcomes of individuals who have experienced this perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. We examined the perceptions people have of themselves and the actions they take as a result of experiencing perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior. We developed a construct to define what makes individuals susceptible to making unethical decisions in the workplace. We discuss the implications of perceived susceptibility to unethical behavior for creating a greater openness for individuals to discuss ethical temptations, to be more open to interventions for promoting ethical behavior, and actions taken to reduce their level of perceived susceptibility for making unethical decisions.

 

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