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Are Audit-related Ethical Decisions Dependent upon Mood?

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  • Mary Curtis


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    This study explores the impact of mood on individuals’ ethical decision-making processes through the Graham [Graham, J. W.: 1986, Research in Organizational Behavior 8, 1–52] model of Principled Organizational Dissent. In particular, the research addresses how an individual’s mood influences his or her willingness to report the unethical actions of a colleague. Participants’ experienced an affectively charged, unrelated event and were then asked to make a decision regarding whistle-blowing intentions in a public accounting context. As expected, negative mood was associated with lower intentions to report the unethical actions of others to a superior within the organization. The Graham model, which proposes that reporting intentions are impacted by the three determinants of seriousness, personal responsibility and cost, was employed to more clearly understand the nature of the affect–reporting intention relationship. The role of affect was explained by demonstrating that two determinants mediate the relationship between mood and whistle-blowing intentions. Specifically, as seriousness and responsibility have a positive impact on reporting intentions, the reduction of these perceptions by negative mood reduces the intent to report. The negative impact of personal cost on reporting intentions was significant, although not as a mediator of mood. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 191-209

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:68:y:2006:i:2:p:191-209
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9066-9
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    1. repec:bla:joares:v:31:y:1993:i::p:75-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Brief, Arthur P., 2001. "Organizational Behavior and the Study of Affect: Keep Your Eyes on the Organization," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 131-139, September.
    3. Kluger, Avraham N. & Lewinsohn, Shai & Aiello, John R., 1994. "The Influence of Feedback on Mood: Linear Effects on Pleasantness and Curvilinear Effects on Arousal," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 276-299, November.
    4. Forgas, Joseph P. & George, Jennifer M., 2001. "Affective Influences on Judgments and Behavior in Organizations: An Information Processing Perspective," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 3-34, September.
    5. Stone, Dan N. & Kadous, Kathryn, 1997. "The Joint Effects of Task-Related Negative Affect and Task Difficulty in Multiattribute Choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 159-174, May.
    6. Kida, Thomas & Smith, James F., 1995. "The encoding and retrieval of numerical data for decision making in accounting contexts: Model development," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(7-8), pages 585-610.
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