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Who would engage in unethical behavior? Should organizations bear the responsibility?


  • Chia-Yi Cheng


  • Chia-Hung Hsieh


  • Yu-Song Yang



Based on the findings of ethical research paradigms, this study aims to explore ethical issues pertaining to service offerings and verify the effects that individual and organizational factors can have on ethical crises. The participants are a sample derived from the actual rule-violation records of financial service salespeople from a listed life insurance company. In order to gather longitudinal data for this exploratory study on unethical behavior, this study gained 1 year of the rule violation record. Data were entered into SPSS to approach description of ethical problems, and an analysis of variance method is applied to diagnose hypotheses. The results indicate that individual age and job experience and organizational region (i.e. in the Chinese countryside) will have significant effects on unethical behavior. In addition, a consideration of the interaction between organizational scale and age shows that scale has the potential to incite unethical behavior among salespeople. Furthermore, according to the findings, this study depicts a taxonomic model. The contribution of this study is to propose essential indicators to certify an organizational warning system. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Chia-Yi Cheng & Chia-Hung Hsieh & Yu-Song Yang, 2014. "Who would engage in unethical behavior? Should organizations bear the responsibility?," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 2341-2354, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:48:y:2014:i:4:p:2341-2354
    DOI: 10.1007/s11135-013-9895-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Snell, Robin S., 1999. "Obedience to Authority and Ethical Dilemmas in Hong Kong Companies," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 507-526, July.
    2. Shripad Pendse, 2012. "Ethical Hazards: A Motive, Means, and Opportunity Approach to Curbing Corporate Unethical Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 265-279, May.
    3. Standifird, Stephen S. & Marshall, R. Scott, 2000. "The transaction cost advantage of guanxi-based business practices," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 21-42, April.
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