Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2005

Accounting

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics

Ethical Distancing: Rationalizing Violations Of Organizational Norms, Jeffrey B. Kaufmann, Tim West, Sue Ravenscroft, Charles B. Shrader Oct 2005

Ethical Distancing: Rationalizing Violations Of Organizational Norms, Jeffrey B. Kaufmann, Tim West, Sue Ravenscroft, Charles B. Shrader

Management Publications

Recent work on moral reasoning has focused on the psychological relationship between the actor, the action and the outcome. The argument is that a tighter connection between these categories leads to more moral behavior. Using data from students who cheated on an exam, we extend this literature by delineating how people can rationalize non-moral behavior by loosening the above relationships. In particular, we found that students tried to distance themselves from the wrongfulness of cheating using four types of rationalization: separating themselves from the action, blaming a third-party for influencing the decision, re-defining the action as something good, and defining ...