Desire to be Ethical or Ability to Self-Control: Which is More Crucial for Ethical Behavior?
Promoting ethical decisions and behaviors is challenging for any organization. Yet managers are still required to make ethical decisions under conditions which deplete their self-control resources, such as high stress and long hours. This study examines the relationships among symbolic and internal moral identity, self-control, and ethical behavior, and investigates whether self-control acts as the mechanism through which moral identity leads to ethical behavior. Findings indicate that internal moral identity overrides symbolic moral identity in the relationship with self-control and that self-control fully mediates the relationship between internal moral identity and ethical behavior. The implications for organizations is that while rules, procedures, and ethics training are useful, managers with a strong moral compass will be more likely to practice self-control leading to more ethical behaviors.
Rua, T., Lawter, L., Andreassi, J. (2017). Desire to be ethical or ability to self-control: Which is more crucial for ethical behavior? Business Ethics: A European Review 26(3), 288-299. doi:10.1111/beer.12145