The Step-by-Step Guide to How Unethical Behaviour in the Workplace Develops
In the the last of my three part series on how to predict unethical behaviour in the workplace develops.
To wrap up this research briefing today I will look at the role situation or the context plays in promoting unethical behaviour in the workplace and the stages people undergo.
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The researchers also found that what is known as ‘situational strength’ or the cues provided by the environment or context (other people, the culture, observed behaviours, actions and inaction, rewards and punishments etc.) regarding the desirability of potential behaviours, has a significant impact on whether an individual or indeed a team or group of people will engage in unethical behaviour.
Situational strength is a measure of the ability of a situation or set of circumstances to create psychological pressure on the individual to engage in and/or refrain from particular behaviours.
How unethical behaviour in the workplace develops
So the pattern for the development of unethical behaviour in the workplace appears to be:
- Firstly the level of authenticity an individual has, predicts how likely they are to morally disengage in the first place. Authenticity largely appears to be an antidote to the chances of moral disengagement and consequently unethical behaviour.
- Therefore, when a manager or leader with lower levels of authenticity finds themselves in a environment or situation (Situational Strength) that suggests:
- The primacy of the task or goal above all else (task focused) and
- The situation promotes or doesn’t actively disapprove of or takes action against moral disengagement, and
- The individual morally disengages by:
- Creating a narrative or story about why the action is necessary and/or not unethical or out of the ordinary
- Reducing their own sense of involvement or importance in the decision or actions
- Failing to see or being wilfully blind to the consequences, and
- Reducing the impact their actions will have on/or blaming the victims
Then the chances are very high that they will engage in unethical behaviour in the workplace.
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