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Attitude Toward and Propensity to Engage in Unethical Behavior: Measurement Invariance across Major among University Students


  • Yuh-Jia Chen


  • Thomas Tang



This research examines business and psychology students’ attitude toward unethical behavior (measured at Time 1) and their propensity to engage in unethical behavior (measured at Time 1 and at Time 2, 4 weeks later) using a 15-item Unethical Behavior measure with five Factors: Abuse Resources, Not Whistle Blowing, Theft, Corruption, and Deception. Results suggested that male students had stronger unethical attitudes and had higher propensity to engage in unethical behavior than female students. Attitude at Time 1 predicted Propensity at Time 1 accurately for all five factors (concurrent validity): If students consider it to be unethical, then, they are less likely to engage in that unethical behavior. Attitude at Time 1 predicted only Factor Abuse Resources for Propensity at Time 2. Propensity at Time 1 was significantly related to Propensity at Time 2. Attitude at Time 1, Propensity at Time 1, and Propensity at Time 2 had achieved configural and metric measurement invariance across major (business vs. psychology). Thus, researchers may have confidence in using these measures in future research. Copyright Springer 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Yuh-Jia Chen & Thomas Tang, 2006. "Attitude Toward and Propensity to Engage in Unethical Behavior: Measurement Invariance across Major among University Students," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 77-93, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:69:y:2006:i:1:p:77-93
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9069-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luo, Yadong, 2005. "An Organizational Perspective of Corruption," Management and Organization Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 119-154, March.
    2. Cohen-Charash, Yochi & Spector, Paul E., 2001. "The Role of Justice in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 278-321, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rafik Z. Elias & Magdy Farag, 2010. "The relationship between accounting students' love of money and their ethical perception," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 269-281, March.
    2. Elisaveta Sardžoska & Thomas Tang, 2012. "Work-Related Behavioral Intentions in Macedonia: Coping Strategies, Work Environment, Love of Money, Job Satisfaction, and Demographic Variables," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 373-391, July.
    3. Ya-Hui Hsu & Wenchang Fang & Yuanchung Lee, 2009. "Ethically Questionable Behavior in Sales Representatives – An Example from the Taiwanese Pharmaceutical Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 155-166, April.
    4. Elisaveta Sardžoska & Thomas Tang, 2015. "Monetary Intelligence: Money Attitudes—Unethical Intentions, Intrinsic and Extrinsic Job Satisfaction, and Coping Strategies Across Public and Private Sectors in Macedonia," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 93-115, August.
    5. Thomas Tang & Yuh-Jia Chen, 2008. "Intelligence Vs. Wisdom: The Love of Money, Machiavellianism, and Unethical Behavior across College Major and Gender," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 1-26, September.
    6. B. Elango & Karen Paul & Sumit Kundu & Shishir Paudel, 2010. "Organizational Ethics, Individual Ethics, and Ethical Intentions in International Decision-Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 543-561, December.
    7. Aisa Tri Agustini, 2016. "Ethical Sensitivity and The Perception of Accounting Students: Is the Love of Money and Greed the Root of Unethical Attitudes? ," GATR Journals afr112, Global Academy of Training and Research (GATR) Enterprise.
    8. Pailin Trongmateerut & John Sweeney, 2013. "The Influence of Subjective Norms on Whistle-Blowing: A Cross-Cultural Investigation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 437-451, February.
    9. Christine Henle & Charlie Reeve & Virginia Pitts, 2010. "Stealing Time at Work: Attitudes, Social Pressure, and Perceived Control as Predictors of Time Theft," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 53-67, June.
    10. repec:kap:jbuset:v:146:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2925-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Yuh-Jia Chen & Thomas Tang, 2013. "The Bright and Dark Sides of Religiosity Among University Students: Do Gender, College Major, and Income Matter?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 531-553, July.
    12. Elisaveta Sardžoska & Thomas Tang, 2009. "Testing a Model of Behavioral Intentions in the Republic of Macedonia: Differences Between the Private and the Public Sectors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(4), pages 495-517, July.
    13. Jingqiu Chen & Thomas Tang & Ningyu Tang, 2014. "Temptation, Monetary Intelligence (Love of Money), and Environmental Context on Unethical Intentions and Cheating," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(2), pages 197-219, August.
    14. Sudbury-Riley, Lynn & Kohlbacher, Florian, 2016. "Ethically minded consumer behavior: Scale review, development, and validation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 2697-2710.
    15. Thomas Tang & Toto Sutarso, 2013. "Falling or Not Falling into Temptation? Multiple Faces of Temptation, Monetary Intelligence, and Unethical Intentions Across Gender," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 529-552, September.
    16. Thomas Tang & Hsi Liu, 2012. "Love of Money and Unethical Behavior Intention: Does an Authentic Supervisor’s Personal Integrity and Character (ASPIRE) Make a Difference?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 295-312, May.
    17. repec:kap:jbuset:v:150:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3209-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:kap:jbuset:v:145:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2834-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Qinxuan Gu & Thomas Tang & Wan Jiang, 2015. "Does Moral Leadership Enhance Employee Creativity? Employee Identification with Leader and Leader–Member Exchange (LMX) in the Chinese Context," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 513-529, February.
    20. T. Tang, 2007. "Income and Quality of Life: Does the Love of Money Make a Difference?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 72(4), pages 375-393, June.
    21. Mindaugas Sinkevičius & Justina Gineikienė & Maik Huettinger & Benas Adomavičius, 2014. "Double Standards in the Judgment of Consumer versus Business Unethical Behavior," Tržište/Market, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, vol. 26(1), pages 45-57.


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