Differentiating Between Premeditated And Impulsive Unethical Behavior: A Criminal Justice Perspective

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/555986
Title:
Differentiating Between Premeditated And Impulsive Unethical Behavior: A Criminal Justice Perspective
Author:
Mai, Ke Michael
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
A growing body of research has emerged in order to better understand unethical behavior at work. However, most theory and research has focused on identifying personal and situational characteristics that predict unethical behavior. However, in order to develop a more complete picture of the phenomenon, research also needs to examine the outcomes of unethical behavior at work. In this research, I adopt research and theory from criminal justice in order to better understand how employees react to unethical behavior at work. In particular, I differentiate between two types of unethical behavior, namely premeditated and impulsive unethical behavior. Based on the criminal justice literature, I define impulsive unethical behaviors as unethical actions where the thought to act did not arise prior to the immediate situation, whereas premeditated unethical behaviors represent unethical actions where the thought to act occurred prior to the immediate situation. I argue that premeditated acts will result in more severe reactions than acts that are impulsive in nature. Specifically, I sought to examine observers' perceived unethicality and recommended punishment towards the two types of unethical behavior. Integrating attribution theory, I also explored three dimensions of attributions (i.e., controllability, stability, and intentionality) as mediating mechanisms. Then, utilizing ethical dissonance theory as an explanatory framework, I examined both wrongdoers' and observers' history of engaging unethical acts as potential moderators of the mediated effects. Finally, methods were presented for two studies. The first study utilized a field sample of adult workers, and the second study utilized a sample of university students. Based on the results from the two studies, I found evidence that the type of unethical behavior that a wrongdoer engages in matters in terms of how they will be evaluated. I also found that observers see premeditated behavior as more intentional, which drives their evaluations. Finally, both observers' and wrongdoers' past history impact my hypothesized model at different points along the causal chain. I hope my results help instigate a shift in the behavioral ethics literature; one that begins to integrate research from the criminal justice literature and one that shifts focus away from examining every possible predictor of unethical behavior at work to what happens following the act itself.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Impulsive unethical behavior; Perceived unethicality; Premeditated unethical behavior; Recommended punishment; Management; Attribution
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Management
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Ellis, Aleksander P.J.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleDifferentiating Between Premeditated And Impulsive Unethical Behavior: A Criminal Justice Perspectiveen_US
dc.creatorMai, Ke Michaelen
dc.contributor.authorMai, Ke Michaelen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractA growing body of research has emerged in order to better understand unethical behavior at work. However, most theory and research has focused on identifying personal and situational characteristics that predict unethical behavior. However, in order to develop a more complete picture of the phenomenon, research also needs to examine the outcomes of unethical behavior at work. In this research, I adopt research and theory from criminal justice in order to better understand how employees react to unethical behavior at work. In particular, I differentiate between two types of unethical behavior, namely premeditated and impulsive unethical behavior. Based on the criminal justice literature, I define impulsive unethical behaviors as unethical actions where the thought to act did not arise prior to the immediate situation, whereas premeditated unethical behaviors represent unethical actions where the thought to act occurred prior to the immediate situation. I argue that premeditated acts will result in more severe reactions than acts that are impulsive in nature. Specifically, I sought to examine observers' perceived unethicality and recommended punishment towards the two types of unethical behavior. Integrating attribution theory, I also explored three dimensions of attributions (i.e., controllability, stability, and intentionality) as mediating mechanisms. Then, utilizing ethical dissonance theory as an explanatory framework, I examined both wrongdoers' and observers' history of engaging unethical acts as potential moderators of the mediated effects. Finally, methods were presented for two studies. The first study utilized a field sample of adult workers, and the second study utilized a sample of university students. Based on the results from the two studies, I found evidence that the type of unethical behavior that a wrongdoer engages in matters in terms of how they will be evaluated. I also found that observers see premeditated behavior as more intentional, which drives their evaluations. Finally, both observers' and wrongdoers' past history impact my hypothesized model at different points along the causal chain. I hope my results help instigate a shift in the behavioral ethics literature; one that begins to integrate research from the criminal justice literature and one that shifts focus away from examining every possible predictor of unethical behavior at work to what happens following the act itself.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectImpulsive unethical behavioren
dc.subjectPerceived unethicalityen
dc.subjectPremeditated unethical behavioren
dc.subjectRecommended punishmenten
dc.subjectManagementen
dc.subjectAttributionen
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineManagementen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorEllis, Aleksander P.J.en
dc.contributor.committeememberEllis, Aleksander P.J.en
dc.contributor.committeememberGilliland, Stephen W.en
dc.contributor.committeememberOrdóñez, Lisa D.en
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.