Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Short horizons and tempting situations: Lack of continuity to our future selves leads to unethical decision making and behavior

Contents:

Author Info

  • Hershfield, Hal E.
  • Cohen, Taya R.
  • Thompson, Leigh
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    People who feel continuity with their future selves are more likely to behave in ethically responsible ways as compared to people who lack continuity with their future selves. We find that individual differences in perceived similarity to one’s future self predicts tolerance of unethical business decisions (Studies 1a and 1b), and that the consideration of future consequences mediates the extent to which people regard inappropriate negotiation strategies as unethical (Study 2). We reveal that low future self-continuity predicts unethical behavior in the form of lies, false promises, and cheating (Studies 3 and 4), and that these relationships hold when controlling for general personality dimensions and trait levels of self-control (Study 4). Finally, we establish a causal relationship between future self-continuity and ethical judgments by showing that when people are prompted to focus on their future self (as opposed to the future), they express more disapproval of unethical behavior (Study 5).

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597811001294
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 117 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 298-310

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:117:y:2012:i:2:p:298-310

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Future self-continuity; Unethical decision making; Intertemporal choice; Unethical behavior; Ethical decision making;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," General Economics and Teaching 0012003, EconWPA.
    2. Schelling, Thomas C, 1984. "Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 1-11, May.
    3. Barnes, Christopher M. & Schaubroeck, John & Huth, Megan & Ghumman, Sonia, 2011. "Lack of sleep and unethical conduct," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 169-180, July.
    4. Hal Ersner-Hershfield & M. Tess Garton & Kacey Ballard & Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin & Brian Knutson, 2009. "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow: Individual differences in future self-continuity account for saving," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(4), pages 280-286, June.
    5. Mead, N.L. & Baumeister, R.F. & Gino, F. & Schweitzer, M.E. & Ariely, D., 2009. "Too tired to tell the truth: Self-control resource depletion and dishonesty," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3557352, Tilburg University.
    6. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    7. Gino, Francesca & Schweitzer, Maurice E. & Mead, Nicole L. & Ariely, Dan, 2011. "Unable to resist temptation: How self-control depletion promotes unethical behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 191-203, July.
    8. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    9. Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
    10. Daniel M. Bartels & Oleg Urminsky, 2011. "On Intertemporal Selfishness: How the Perceived Instability of Identity Underlies Impatient Consumption," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 182 - 198.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:117:y:2012:i:2:p:298-310. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.