Compliant sinners, obstinate saints: How power and self-focus determine the effectiveness of social influences in ethical decision making

Abstract : In this research, we examine when and why organizational environments influence how employees respond to moral issues. Past research proposed that social influences in organizations affect employees' ethical decision making, but did not explain when and why some individuals are affected by the organizational environment and some disregard it. To address this problem, we drew on research on power to propose that power makes people more self-focused, which, in turn, makes them more likely to act upon their preferences and ignore (un)ethical social influences. Using both experimental and field methods, we tested our model across the three main paradigms of social influence: informational influence (Study 1 and 2), normative influence (Study 3), and compliance (Study 4). Results offer converging evidence for our theory.
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Marko Pitesa, Stefan Thau. Compliant sinners, obstinate saints: How power and self-focus determine the effectiveness of social influences in ethical decision making. Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management, 2013, 56 (3), pp.635-658. ⟨10.5465/amj.2011.0891⟩. ⟨hal-00814614v2⟩

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