The motivation of mission statements: How regulatory mode influences workplace discrimination

Kanze, D, Conley, M A and Higgins, E T (2021) The motivation of mission statements: How regulatory mode influences workplace discrimination. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 166. pp. 84-103. ISSN 0749-5978 OPEN ACCESS


Despite concerted efforts to enforce ethical standards, transgressions continue to plague US corporations. This paper investigates whether the way in which an organization pursues its goals can influence ethical violations, manifested as involvement in discrimination. We test this hypothesis among franchises, which employ a considerable amount of low-income workers adversely affected by discrimination. Drawing upon Regulatory Mode Theory, we perform a linguistic analysis of franchise mission statements to determine their degree of locomotion and assessment language. EEOC archival data for the past decade reveals that regulatory mode predicts franchise involvement in discrimination. Discriminatory behavior is associated with franchises whose mission statements motivate employees to embrace urgent action (locomotion mode) over thoughtful consideration (assessment mode). Two experiments demonstrate that participants exposed to high locomotion mission statements tend to disregard ethical standards due to their need for expediency, making significantly more discriminatory managerial decisions than those exposed to high assessment mission statements.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2019 Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence

Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 15:20
Date of first compliant deposit: 11 May 2020
Subjects: Working conditions
Equal opportunities
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2024 01:26
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