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Self-Construal and Unethical Behavior


  • Irina Cojuharenco


  • Garriy Shteynberg
  • Michele Gelfand
  • Marshall Schminke


We suggest that understanding unethical behavior in organizations involves understanding how people view themselves and their relationships with others, a concept known as self-construal. Across multiple studies, employing both field and laboratory settings, we examine the impact of three dimensions of self-construal (independent, relational, and collective) on unethical behavior. Our results show that higher levels of relational self-construal relate negatively to unethical behavior. We also find that differences in levels of relational self for men and women mediate gender differences in unethical behavior. We discuss both the theoretical and practical implications of these findings. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Irina Cojuharenco & Garriy Shteynberg & Michele Gelfand & Marshall Schminke, 2012. "Self-Construal and Unethical Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(4), pages 447-461, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:4:p:447-461
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1139-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Treviño, Linda Klebe & Weaver, Gary R., 2001. "Organizational Justice and Ethics Program “Follow-Through†: Influences on Employees’ Harmful and Helpful Behavior," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 651-671, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacqueline C. Wisler, 2018. "U.S. CEOs of SBUs in Luxury Goods Organizations: A Mixed Methods Comparison of Ethical Decision-Making Profiles," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 149(2), pages 443-518, May.
    2. Peter E. Mudrack & E. Sharon Mason, 2019. "Utilitarian Traits and the Janus-Headed Model: Origins, Meaning, and Interpretation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 227-240, April.
    3. Kun Liu & Hanliang Fu & Hong Chen, 2018. "Research on the Influencing Mechanism of Traditional Cultural Values on Citizens’ Behavior Regarding the Reuse of Recycled Water," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(1), pages 1-15, January.
    4. Crystal Hoyt & Terry Price, 2015. "Ethical Decision Making and Leadership: Merging Social Role and Self-Construal Perspectives," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(4), pages 531-539, February.
    5. Whitney O. Peake & Danielle Cooper & Margaret A. Fitzgerald & Glenn Muske, 2017. "Family Business Participation in Community Social Responsibility: The Moderating Effect of Gender," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 142(2), pages 325-343, May.


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