The Importance of Behavioral Integrity in a Multicultural Workplace

Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 8, No. 17, 2008

11 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2012

See all articles by Tony L. Simons

Tony L. Simons

Cornell University

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Leigh Anne Liu

Georgia State University - J. Mack Robinson College of Business

Judi McLean Parks

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

The notion of “behavioral integrity” describes the extent to which one person perceives that another lives by his or her word, keeps promises, and lives by professed values. Effective management leadership depends on how employees perceive their manager's behavior on these points, because this drives credibility. Since most managers are neither saints nor demons, employees judge their managers’ integrity by interpreting a mixed set of managerial actions and behavior. This study examines how different employee groups might understand and react differently to cues about their manager’s consistency. We surveyed 1,944 employees at 107 hotels and found that the observer’s race affects his or her perceptions of behavioral integrity. African American employees in this study were especially sensitive to violations and affirmations of behavioral integrity. Moreover, African American employees scored their African American managers more harshly than they did their non-African American managers. The study also found that senior managers’ integrity trickles down to affect behavior and attitudes throughout the organization. These results suggest a need for executive training and vigilance focused on the issue of behavioral integrity, because managers’ integrity affects the attitudes, conduct, and loyalty of all employees.

Suggested Citation

Simons, Tony L. and Friedman, Raymond A. and Liu, Leigh Anne and McLean Parks, Judi, The Importance of Behavioral Integrity in a Multicultural Workplace (2008). Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 8, No. 17, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2080111

Tony L. Simons (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Raymond A. Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-3992 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

Leigh Anne Liu

Georgia State University - J. Mack Robinson College of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 4050
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Judi McLean Parks

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-7451 (Phone)
314-935-6359 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.olin.wustl.edu/faculty/mcleanparks/

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