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Moral commitment and corruption: Who is more likely to resist corrupt behavior?


Linder, Stefan; Sohn, Matthias; Tanner, Carmen (2020). Moral commitment and corruption: Who is more likely to resist corrupt behavior? SSRN 3530305, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Corruption is ubiquitous in practice and has severe negative consequences for businesses and societies at large. This paper focuses on an issue largely neglected in research on corruption: why individuals differ in their susceptibility to engage in corruption. Drawing on a laboratory experiment, we propose that individuals high in moral commitment are less likely to engage in corruptive behaviors and hence forego financial benefits. Specifically, we posit that individuals refrain from corruption (i) the more they hold integrity as a protected value, (ii) the more they experience compromising their integrity for monetary gains as unacceptable, and (iii) the higher their level of Honesty-Humility. The results of our two-step experiment largely support the hypotheses: people who treat compromises to integrity as unacceptable were less willing to accept bribes, and Honesty-Humility decreased bribe-giving. The findings are robust to demographic variables (e.g., age, gender, cultural background) and additional personal characteristics (e.g., risk tolerance, dispositional greed) and have important implications for ongoing theory-building efforts and business practice.

Abstract

Corruption is ubiquitous in practice and has severe negative consequences for businesses and societies at large. This paper focuses on an issue largely neglected in research on corruption: why individuals differ in their susceptibility to engage in corruption. Drawing on a laboratory experiment, we propose that individuals high in moral commitment are less likely to engage in corruptive behaviors and hence forego financial benefits. Specifically, we posit that individuals refrain from corruption (i) the more they hold integrity as a protected value, (ii) the more they experience compromising their integrity for monetary gains as unacceptable, and (iii) the higher their level of Honesty-Humility. The results of our two-step experiment largely support the hypotheses: people who treat compromises to integrity as unacceptable were less willing to accept bribes, and Honesty-Humility decreased bribe-giving. The findings are robust to demographic variables (e.g., age, gender, cultural background) and additional personal characteristics (e.g., risk tolerance, dispositional greed) and have important implications for ongoing theory-building efforts and business practice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:3 December 2020
Deposited On:09 Dec 2020 15:44
Last Modified:01 Mar 2022 06:32
Series Name:SSRN
Number of Pages:42
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3530305
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:20139

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