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Valle publishes in Journal of Business Ethics

Matthew Valle, Martha and Spencer Love Professor of Business and professor of management, has published the results of a multi-year analysis of the relationship between politics perceptions and unethical behavior.

Matthew Valle, Martha and Spencer Love Professor of Business and professor of management, has published the results of a multi-year analysis of the relationship between politics perceptions and unethical behavior.

The article, "Understanding the Effects of Political Environments on Unethical Behavior in Organizations" is part of a 25-year program of research by Valle which extends the Perceptions of Politics (POP) model of organizational behavior.  In this latest effort, Valle and his co-authors (K. Michele Kacmar of Texas State University and Suzanne Zivnuska of California State University - Chico) have been studying how political environments and individual perceptions of politics can cause individuals to engage in unethical behavior. 

The research team found support for the idea that political environments act as a job demand/stressor that requires employees to expend physical and/or psychological effort to manage. As a result of this strain, individuals were found to be more inclined to use cognitive disengagement mechanisms to rationalize unethical behaviors and diminish or eliminate the negative emotions associated with violating their personal, moral standard.  

This research advances theory in a meaningful way by applying and integrating multiple theoretical perspectives (job demands-resources theory; Bakker & Demerouti, 2007, social cognitive theory; Bandura, 1986; 1999, and RFT; Higgins, 1997) to better explain the relationship between moral disengagement and unethical behavior within a political organizational context. By confirming a mediational effect of moral disengagement on the POP-unethical behavior relationship in both an experimental and a survey study, we offer support for moral disengagement (Bandura, 1986; 1999) and a call for more POP research that includes this construct. We also caution managers to be on the lookout for indications that the political environment may be so severe as to drive normally ethical individuals to engage in unethical behaviors.

Abstract:  Based on a framework that integrates job demands-resources (JD-R) theory (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007), social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986, 1999) and regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997), the purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between perceptions of or ganizational politics and subsequent moral disengagement and unethical behavior. We conducted a laboratory study and also collected data in two separate surveys six weeks apart from 206 individuals working fulltime to investigate the relationships presented in our model.  In both studies we examined the direct relationship of politics perceptions on unethical behavior in organizations as well as the indirect relationship through the influence of moral disengagement. We investigated the moderating effect of regulatory focus (prevention-focus and promotion-focus) on the relationship between moral disengagement and unethical behavior using the survey data. Results indicated that perceptions of politics were significantly related to our mediator, moral disengagement, which was significantly related to our dependent variable, unethical behavior. However, only prevention-focus moderated the relationships examined.  Implications for future research and managerial practice are discussed.

The Journal of Business Ethics is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Springer Science+Business Media covering methodological and disciplinary aspects of ethical issues related to business, including systems of production, consumption, marketing, advertising, social and economic accounting, labor relations, public relations and organizational behavior. The (2015) Journal Impact Factor is 1.837.

Nicole Filippo,
Staff
5/16/2017 12:50 PM