The goal of this study was to explore the relationship between locus of control and the influence of an unethical authority figure. This research is a preliminary, exploratory study given research design limits. It was hypothesized that subjects oriented towards internal locus of control are better able to resist pressure from an unethical authority figure. Subjects oriented towards the powerful others and chance orientations were hypothesized to be less able to resist pressure from an unethical authority figure. The results found that the presence of an unethical authority figure had little to no influence on self-perceived unethical decision-making; the difference in unethical behavior between cases with an authority figure present and without one present was not statistically significant. Further, no support was found for the hypotheses as no statistically significant relationship between locus of control orientations and the difference between the control case and test case was found (R2 = 0.02, model P-value > 0.05). Further analysis confirmed the results of Detert et al. (2008), finding no relationship between survey subjects’ locus of control orientations and unethical decision-making. Additional analysis indicates a relationship between unethical decision-making and gender (B = -5.14, P = 0.03, P < 0.05), providing some interesting avenues for future research.
- Who's in Control?: On the relationship between locus of control and the influence of unethical authority
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