Hypocrisy by association: When organizational membership increases condemnation for wrongdoing

Effron, D and Lucas, B J and O'Connor, K (2015) Hypocrisy by association: When organizational membership increases condemnation for wrongdoing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 130 (Sept). pp. 147-159.

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Hypocrisy occurs when people fail to practice what they preach. Four experiments document the hypocrisy-by-association effect, whereby failing to practice what an organization preaches can make an employee seem hypocritical and invite moral condemnation. Participants judged employees more harshly for the same transgression when it was inconsistent with ethical values the employees’ organization promoted, and ascriptions of hypocrisy mediated this effect (Studies 1–3). The results did not support the possibility that inconsistent transgressions simply seemed more harmful. In Study 4, participants were less likely to select a job candidate whose transgression did (vs. did not) contradict a value promoted by an organization where he had once interned. The results suggest that employees are seen as morally obligated to uphold the values that their organization promotes, even by people outside of the organization. We discuss how observers will judge someone against different ethical standards depending on where she or he works.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 Elsevier B V
Subjects: P > People (Behavioural science)
E > Ethics
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.05.001
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 13:23
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 13:23
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/761

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