The More the Merrier: How Psychological Standing and Work Group Size Explain Managers’ Willingness to Communicate About Unethical Conduct in Their Work Group

Burak Oc*, Maryam Kouchaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Business ethics research has long examined the dichotomy between remaining silent or reporting ethical misconduct to a third party. Little is known, however, about ethical conversations within a work group after observing misconduct. Specifically, we do not know how many members of their work group individuals choose to communicate with. These conversations could have important implications for creating an ethical workplace. We propose that psychological standing is an important driver of individuals’ decisions not to remain silent and to instead raise moral concerns with a greater number of others in their work group. In addition, integrating existing work on structural power, psychological standing, and the bystander effect, we develop a moderated mediation model with both structural power position and work group size as contextual drivers of psychological standing. Our model is supported across four studies using different designs and methodological approaches. Our results contribute to the understanding of when and why individuals raise moral concerns, and they provide insights into how an ethical context is created in organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Bystander effect
  • Number of targets
  • Power
  • Psychological standing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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