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OTTRS Speaker Series Presents: How Leaders Drive Followers' Unethical Behavior
Abstract
Numerous organizational scandals have implicated leaders in encouraging employees to advance organizational objectives through unethical means. However, leadership research has not examined leaders’ encouragement of unethical behaviors. We define leader immorality encouragement (LIE) as an employee’s perception that their leader encourages unethical behaviors on behalf of the organization. Across four studies, we found, as hypothesized, that: (1) LIE promotes employees’ unethical behavior carried out with the intention to aid the organization (unethical pro-organizational behavior); (2) this relationship is mediated by employees’ moral disengagement and the expectation of rewards; (3) LIE, via moral disengagement, enhances employees’ self-serving unethical behavior; and (4) the relationship between LIE and unethical behavior is stronger when the leader has long-presumed “good qualities,” such as a higher (rather than lower) quality exchange relationship with the employee and higher (rather than lower) organizational status. Debra’s presentation to OTTRS aims to provoke discussion about how AI (artificial intelligence) in and outside organizations increases as well as decreases the likelihood of unethical behavior (e.g., the spread, as well as fact- correction, of disinformation), hence how AI might moderate this study’s predicted and observed findings.

Sep 23, 2022 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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