When Organizations Don’t Walk Their Talk: A Cross-Level Examination of How Decoupling Formal Ethics Programs Affects Organizational Members

Tammy MacLean, Barrie E. Litzky, D. Kip Holderness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research illustrates dangers inherent in the gap created when organizations decouple ethics program adoption from implementation. Using a sample of 182 professionals in the pharmaceutical and financial services industries, we examine the relationship between structural decoupling of formal ethics programs and individual-level perceptions and behavior. Findings strongly support the hypothesized relationships between decoupling and organizational members’ legitimacy perceptions of the ethics program, psychological contract breach, organizational cynicism, and unethical behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-368
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume128
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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