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Duty orientation: Theoretical development and preliminary construct testing


  • Hannah, Sean T.
  • Jennings, Peter L.
  • Bluhm, Dustin
  • Peng, Ann Chunyan
  • Schaubroeck, John M.


We develop and test the construct of duty orientation that we propose is valuable to advancing knowledge about ethical behavior in organizations. Duty orientation represents an individual’s volitional orientation to loyally serve and faithfully support other members of the group, to strive and sacrifice to accomplish the tasks and missions of the group, and to honor its codes and principles. We test the construct validity and predictive validity of a measure of duty orientation across five studies and six samples. Consistent with the conceptualization of duty orientation as a malleable construct, we found in separate field studies that duty orientation mediates the relationship between ethical leadership and ethical and unethical behaviors, and between transformational leadership and ethical behavior. In predicting ethical and unethical behavior, duty orientation demonstrated incremental predictive validity beyond the effects of affective organizational commitment, organizational identification, experienced job responsibility, collective self-construal, and organizational values congruence.

Suggested Citation

  • Hannah, Sean T. & Jennings, Peter L. & Bluhm, Dustin & Peng, Ann Chunyan & Schaubroeck, John M., 2014. "Duty orientation: Theoretical development and preliminary construct testing," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 220-238.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:123:y:2014:i:2:p:220-238
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2013.10.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Mo Chen & Chao C. Chen & Marshall Schminke, 2023. "Feeling Guilty and Entitled: Paradoxical Consequences of Unethical Pro-organizational Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 183(3), pages 865-883, March.
    3. Curtis L. Wesley & Gregory W. Martin & Darryl B. Rice & Connor J. Lubojacky, 2022. "Do the Right Thing: The Imprinting of Deonance at the Upper Echelons," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 180(1), pages 187-213, September.
    4. Russell S. Cropanzano & Sebastiano Massaro & William J. Becker, 2017. "Deontic Justice and Organizational Neuroscience," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 144(4), pages 733-754, September.
    5. Christian Voegtlin & Colina Frisch & Andreas Walther & Pascale Schwab, 2020. "Theoretical Development and Empirical Examination of a Three-Roles Model of Responsible Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 411-431, December.
    6. Weichun Zhu & Xiaoming Zheng & Hongwei He & Gang Wang & Xi Zhang, 2019. "Ethical Leadership with Both “Moral Person” and “Moral Manager” Aspects: Scale Development and Cross-Cultural Validation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 158(2), pages 547-565, August.
    7. DeConinck, James & Carnes, Drew & DeConinck, Mary Beth, 2021. "Antecedents and Outcomes of Duty Orientation Among Salespeople," American Business Review, Pompea College of Business, University of New Haven, vol. 24(2), pages 100-114, November.
    8. Jochen Theis & Marvin Nipper, 2021. "The Impact of Executives’ Gender, Financial Incentives, and Shareholder Pressure on Corporate Social and Ecological Investments," Schmalenbach Journal of Business Research, Springer, vol. 73(3), pages 307-338, December.
    9. Nathan Eva & Alexander Newman & Qing Miao & Dan Wang & Brian Cooper, 2020. "Antecedents of Duty Orientation and Follower Work Behavior: The Interactive Effects of Perceived Organizational Support and Ethical Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 627-639, January.
    10. Tost, Leigh Plunkett & Johnson, Hana Huang, 2019. "The prosocial side of power: How structural power over subordinates can promote social responsibility," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 25-46.
    11. Ponmythili Muppidathi & Venkat R. Krishnan, 2021. "Transformational Leadership and Follower’s Perceived Group Cohesiveness: Mediating Role of Follower’s Karma-yoga," Business Perspectives and Research, , vol. 9(2), pages 269-285, May.
    12. Yuliya Frolova & Monowar Mahmood, 2019. "Variations in employee duty orientation: impact of personality, leadership styles and corporate culture," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 9(4), pages 423-444, December.

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