Article | Research in Organizational Behavior | 2013

Ethically Adrift: How Others Pull Our Moral Compass from True North, and How we Can Fix It

by C. Moore and F. Gino

Abstract

This chapter is about the social nature of morality. Using the metaphor of the moral compass to describe individuals' inner sense of right and wrong, we offer a framework to help us understand social reasons why our moral compass can come under others' control, leading even good people to cross ethical boundaries. Departing from prior work focusing on the role of individuals' cognitive limitations in explaining unethical behavior, we focus on the socio-psychological processes that function as triggers of moral neglect, moral justification and immoral action, and their impact on moral behavior. In addition, our framework discusses organizational factors that exacerbate the detrimental effects of each trigger. We conclude by discussing implications and recommendations for organizational scholars to take a more integrative approach to developing and evaluating theory about unethical behavior.

Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Moral Sensibility; Behavior;

Citation:

Moore, C., and F. Gino. "Ethically Adrift: How Others Pull Our Moral Compass from True North, and How we Can Fix It." Research in Organizational Behavior 33 (2013): 53–77.