Holding People Responsible for Ethical Violations: The Trust Benefits of Accusing Others
Posted: 30 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 28, 2017
Individuals who accuse others of unethical behavior can derive significant benefits. Compared to individuals who do not make accusations, accusers engender greater trust and are perceived to have higher ethical standards. We found this to be true even when the accuser had a conflict of interest when making the accusation. However, both moral hypocrisy and the veracity of the accusation moderated the relationship between accusations and trust in the accuser. Accusers who had acted unethically themselves failed to signal high ethical standards when they accused others, and accusers who had made false accusations lost, rather than gained, trust. Overall, accusations have significant interpersonal consequences. In addition to harming accused targets, accusations can substantially benefit accusers.
Keywords: Ethics; Ethical Violations; Accusations; Trust
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