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Lack of sleep and unethical conduct

Author

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  • Barnes, Christopher M.
  • Schaubroeck, John
  • Huth, Megan
  • Ghumman, Sonia

Abstract

We draw from the Ego Depletion model and research on sleep physiology to predict a relationship between lack of sleep and individuals' unethical behavior. Laboratory studies showed that sleep quantity is positively related to self-control resources and negative associated with unethical behavior. In a cross-sectional field study examining unethical behavior in a variety of work settings, low levels of sleep, and low perceived quality of sleep, were both positively related to unethical behavior as rated by the supervisor, and cognitive fatigue mediated the influence of sleep quantity. In an experience sampling field study, we found similar effects within-individuals. We discuss the role of lost sleep in better understanding unethical behavior in organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:115:y:2011:i:2:p:169-180
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brown, Michael E. & Trevino, Linda K. & Harrison, David A., 2005. "Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 117-134, July.
    2. Glomb, Theresa M. & Richman, Wendy L. & Hulin, Charles L. & Drasgow, Fritz & Schneider, Kimberly T. & Fitzgerald, Louise F., 1997. "Ambient Sexual Harassment: An Integrated Model of Antecedents and Consequences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 309-328, September.
    3. 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," Other publications TiSEM c60167a3-c3aa-4b83-9192-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Greenberg, Jerald, 2002. "Who stole the money, and when? Individual and situational determinants of employee theft," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 985-1003, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:80-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Yam, Kai Chi & Chen, Xiao-Ping & Reynolds, Scott J., 2014. "Ego depletion and its paradoxical effects on ethical decision making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 204-214.
    3. Yam, Kai Chi & Reynolds, Scott J. & Hirsh, Jacob B., 2014. "The hungry thief: Physiological deprivation and its effects on unethical behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 123-133.
    4. repec:eee:jobhdp:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:57-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hershfield, Hal E. & Cohen, Taya R. & Thompson, Leigh, 2012. "Short horizons and tempting situations: Lack of continuity to our future selves leads to unethical decision making and behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 298-310.
    6. Sharma, Eesha & Mazar, Nina & Alter, Adam L. & Ariely, Dan, 2014. "Financial deprivation selectively shifts moral standards and compromises moral decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 90-100.
    7. Schulz, Jonathan F. & Fischbacher, Urs & Thöni, Christian & Utikal, Verena, 2014. "Affect and fairness: Dictator games under cognitive load," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 77-87.
    8. Avery, Derek R. & McKay, Patrick F. & Volpone, Sabrina D. & Malka, Ari, 2015. "Are companies beholden to bias? The impact of leader race on consumer purchasing behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 85-102.
    9. Palma, Marco & Segovia, Michelle & Kassas, Bachir & Ribera, Luis & Hall, Charles, 2016. "The Effects of Self-Control on Subsequent Purchasing Decisions," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235987, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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