Investigating Justifications of Unethical Decisions in the Workforce
Priya Lall, Master’s in Psychology program, Industrial-Organizational Psychology Concentration
(Sponsoring faculty member: Dr. Jay Caughron)
The study investigates the relation between workplace deviance and justifications. For example, if an employee is questioned by their supervisor about them leaving early from work every day what is the reasoning that the employee provides; is it because everyone does it or another justification. A justification taxonomy has been developed consisting of five categories that are most likely used when questioned about their behavior: blame victim, blame other, blame situation, challenge authority, and fairness. Workplace deviance is categorized into two different types which are organizational deviance and interpersonal deviance. Gender will also be a variable examined in order to better understand if gender has any effects on the types of justifications used when questioned about their workplace deviance by their supervisor. It is hypothesized that the justifications utilized will be dependent on the type of workplace deviance. It is also hypothesized that the type of justification utilized will differ based on gender. This study is being tested with employees from a manufacturing company in Blacksburg, Virginia. It is expected that organizational deviance will result in justifications such as blame situation, challenge authority, and fairness; interpersonal deviance will result in justifications such as blame victim and blame others. In addition, women are expected to use justifications such as blame victim and blame other whereas men will utilize justifications such as blame situation, challenge authority, and fairness. This study will assist in being better able to respond to others in order to prevent workplace deviance and to better understand ourselves.
2015-2016 Kemp Award Recipients' Research
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