Character Traits in the Workplace: A Three-Month Diary Study of Moral and Immoral Organizational Behaviors

In C. B. Miller, R. M. Furr, A. Knobel, & W. Fleeson. (Eds.), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (pp. 150-163). Oxford University Press, New York

23 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2015

See all articles by Taya R. Cohen

Taya R. Cohen

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: August 15, 2015

Abstract

The Work Experiences and Character Traits (WECT) project investigated how moral character, personality, emotions, and treatment by managers and coworkers affected how frequently workers engaged in ethical and unethical behavior at their jobs. Over three months, we administered 14 surveys to more than 1,500 adults living in the United States, who worked in a diverse array of occupations in the private and public sectors. The initial and final surveys assessed personality and moral character traits, as well as job and organizational characteristics. Twelve weekly surveys assessed work behaviors, work experiences, and emotions. A coworker survey assessed coworkers’ judgments of the targets’ personality and moral character traits, as well as their observations of the targets’ work behaviors. Our research showed that individual differences in moral character have consistent, meaningful effects on employees’ work behaviors, and our findings contest situationist perspectives that de-emphasize the importance of individual differences in predicting behavior.

Keywords: morality; ethics; character; personality; individual differences; counterproductive work behaviors; organizational citizenship behaviors;

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Taya R. and Panter, A. T., Character Traits in the Workplace: A Three-Month Diary Study of Moral and Immoral Organizational Behaviors (August 15, 2015). In C. B. Miller, R. M. Furr, A. Knobel, & W. Fleeson. (Eds.), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (pp. 150-163). Oxford University Press, New York, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2644947

Taya R. Cohen (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
4122686677 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/our-faculty-and-research/about-our-faculty/faculty-profiles/tcohen/cohen-t

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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