We demonstrate the value of a moral decision making paradigm for investigating the effects of intention and harm on followers' reactions to leaders' wrongdoing. We also introduce damaged relational identity as a mediator of these effects. Participants were assigned to one of four conditions in which intention to harm and harm were manipulated. The study was conducted using a stochastic, incentivized economic game that involved real monetary consequences for the followers. The results indicated that intention to harm was the primary determinant of followers' withdrawal behavior while actual harm had no effect on withdrawal. A desire to punish the offending leader was influenced by both intention and harm. Damaged relational identity mediated the effect of intention on withdrawal behavior and punishment. In contrast, harm's effect on punishment was direct. We hope that our study stimulates additional research on leader misconduct using intention and identification processes as linchpins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Applied Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management