Doing as They Would Do: How the Perceived Ethical Preferences of Third-Party Beneficiaries Impact Ethical Decision-Making

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 122, 280-290

44 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2013 Last revised: 11 Dec 2013

Scott S. Wiltermuth

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Victor Manuel Bennett

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Lamar Pierce

Washington University, Saint Louis - John M. Olin School of Business

Date Written: October 9, 2013

Abstract

Although unethical behavior often benefits third-parties not directly complicit in the misconduct, not all beneficiaries welcome these ill-gotten benefits. We investigate whether actors consider the ethical preferences of potential beneficiaries or rely solely on their own ethical predispositions when making decisions that affect others. Three studies demonstrate that the perceived ethical preferences of these beneficiaries can substantially influence the likelihood that actors behave unethically on their behalves. These studies show that actors consider the ethical preferences of beneficiaries only when their own ethical disposition is outcome-based.

Keywords: Ethics, Prosocial, Decision-Making, Moral Orientation, Ethical Predisposition

Suggested Citation

Wiltermuth, Scott S. and Bennett, Victor Manuel and Pierce, Lamar, Doing as They Would Do: How the Perceived Ethical Preferences of Third-Party Beneficiaries Impact Ethical Decision-Making (October 9, 2013). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 122, 280-290. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2338924 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2338924

Scott S. Wiltermuth (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Victor Manuel Bennett

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.duke.edu/bennett/

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Lamar Pierce

Washington University, Saint Louis - John M. Olin School of Business ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-5205 (Phone)

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