Unethically motivated: How management tools elicit functional unethical behaviors

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Employees that engage in unethical behaviors are a serious problem for organizations. Not only are unethical behaviors illegal and morally unacceptable, but they can also produce severe harm to various organizational stakeholders. Thus far, most of the academic research on unethical behaviors has focused on what managers can do to intentionally prevent unethical behaviors. In this dissertation, however, we argue and demonstrate that managers may unintentionally promote unethical behaviors through various well-established management tools that they employ. More specifically, first we argue that unethical behaviors can provide employees with a functional advantage over ethically-neutral behaviors that allows employees to attain their goals and standards in a more effective or efficient manner. Across three empirical chapters, we then demonstrate that three commonly employed management tools (i.e., ranked competitions, setting goals, and differentially treating employees) have the insidious potential of motivating functional unethical behaviors. We then discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the results of these three empirical studies.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Janssen, Onne, Supervisor
  • Jordan, Jennifer, Co-supervisor
Award date22-Feb-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8597-6
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8598-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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