IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jobhdp/v109y2009i2p134-141.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Dirty work, clean hands: The moral psychology of indirect agency

Author

Listed:
  • Paharia, Neeru
  • Kassam, Karim S.
  • Greene, Joshua D.
  • Bazerman, Max H.

Abstract

When powerful people cause harm, they often do so indirectly through other people. Are harmful actions carried out through others evaluated less negatively than harmful actions carried out directly? Four experiments examine the moral psychology of indirect agency. Experiments 1A, 1B, and 1C reveal effects of indirect agency under conditions favoring intuitive judgment, but not reflective judgment, using a joint/separate evaluation paradigm. Experiment 2A demonstrates that effects of indirect agency cannot be fully explained by perceived lack of foreknowledge or control on the part of the primary agent. Experiment 2B indicates that reflective moral judgment is sensitive to indirect agency, but only to the extent that indirectness signals reduced foreknowledge and/or control. Experiment 3 indicates that effects of indirect agency result from a failure to automatically consider the potentially dubious motives of agents who cause harm indirectly. Experiment 4 demonstrates an effect of indirect agency on purchase intentions.

Suggested Citation

  • Paharia, Neeru & Kassam, Karim S. & Greene, Joshua D. & Bazerman, Max H., 2009. "Dirty work, clean hands: The moral psychology of indirect agency," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 134-141, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:109:y:2009:i:2:p:134-141
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749-5978(09)00023-5
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hsee, Christopher K., 1996. "The Evaluability Hypothesis: An Explanation for Preference Reversals between Joint and Separate Evaluations of Alternatives," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 247-257, September.
    2. Bazerman, Max H. & Schroth, Holly A. & Shah, Pri Pradhan & Diekmann, Kristina A. & Tenbrunsel, Ann E., 1994. "The Inconsistent Role of Comparison Others and Procedural Justice in Reactions to Hypothetical Job Descriptions: Implications for Job Acceptance Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 326-352, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bazerman, Max H. & Sezer, Ovul, 2016. "Bounded awareness: Implications for ethical decision making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 95-105.
    2. Schminke, Marshall & Caldwell, James & Ambrose, Maureen L. & McMahon, Sean R., 2014. "Better than ever? Employee reactions to ethical failures in organizations, and the ethical recovery paradox," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 206-219.
    3. Song, Fei & Zhong, Chen-Bo, 2015. "You scratch his back, he scratches mine and I’ll scratch yours: Deception in simultaneous cyclic networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 98-111.
    4. Grossman, Zachary & Oexl, Regine, 2011. "Delegating to a Powerless Intermediary: Does It Reduce Punishment?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0119d201, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:109:y:2009:i:2:p:134-141. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.