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Are Audit-related Ethical Decisions Dependent upon Mood?


  • Mary Curtis



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

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Curtis, 2006. "Are Audit-related Ethical Decisions Dependent upon Mood?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(2), pages 191-209, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:68:y:2006:i:2:p:191-209
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9066-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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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    Cited by:

    1. Steven Kaplan & Kurt Pany & Janet Samuels & Jian Zhang, 2009. "An Examination of the Association Between Gender and Reporting Intentions for Fraudulent Financial Reporting," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 15-30, June.
    2. Jana Craft, 2013. "A Review of the Empirical Ethical Decision-Making Literature: 2004–2011," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(2), pages 221-259, October.
    3. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., 2013. "Eliciting risk and time preferences under induced mood states," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 18-27.
    4. Mohammed Rawwas & Surendra Arjoon & Yusuf Sidani, 2013. "An Introduction of Epistemology to Business Ethics: A Study of Marketing Middle-Managers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 525-539, October.
    5. Karen Winterich & Andrea Morales & Vikas Mittal, 2015. "Disgusted or Happy, It is not so Bad: Emotional Mini-Max in Unethical Judgments," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 343-360, August.
    6. Jana Craft, 2013. "Living in the Gray: Lessons on Ethics from Prison," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(2), pages 327-339, June.
    7. Eileen Taylor & Mary Curtis, 2010. "An Examination of the Layers of Workplace Influences in Ethical Judgments: Whistleblowing Likelihood and Perseverance in Public Accounting," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(1), pages 21-37, April.
    8. repec:kap:jbuset:v:147:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2946-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:kap:jbuset:v:148:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3031-z is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Katrina Graham & Jonathan Ziegert & Johnna Capitano, 2015. "The Effect of Leadership Style, Framing, and Promotion Regulatory Focus on Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 423-436, February.
    11. repec:spr:grdene:v:18:y:2009:i:2:d:10.1007_s10726-008-9116-z is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo & Klonaris, Stathis, 2010. "The Effects of Induced Mood on Preference Reversals and Bidding Behavior in Experimental Auction Valuation," MPRA Paper 25597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Derek Dalton & Robin Radtke, 2013. "The Joint Effects of Machiavellianism and Ethical Environment on Whistle-Blowing," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 153-172, September.

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    affect; mood; whistle-blowing;


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