Alternative TitleViolate Knowingly? Factors and Psychological Mechanismof Intentional Unethical Behavior
王亚婷1,2; 王詠1
First Author王亚婷
Source Publication心理科学


Other Abstract

Abstract Intentional unethical behavior, characterized by breaking the daily standards and violating the moral compass consciously, is currently widespread in the public fields and private spaces and gives rise to immense economic and social cost. In this paper, we constructed a process model of conducting intentional unethical behavior, which depicted the inducing factors and underlying pre-violation and post-violation psychological mechanisms from the perspective of self-concept maintenance theory and moral dissonance theory. In psychology, behavioral ethics, management, and cognitive neuroscience field, loads of researchers have explored factors which would induce individuals to violate social norms consciously and conduct intentional unethical behaviors in specific cultural and social contexts. This paper reviewed the influence of both individual factors and contextual factors on intentional unethical behavior respectively. Individual factors refer to the personal characteristics or attributes, including physical, unconscious, cognitive factors and personality factors. Contextual factors refer to the external features when people perceive about the outside world, including surrounding settings, alert cues, time cues and interpersonal interactions. What’s more, previous papers have showed that most of individual factors, in essence, drive people to behave unethically through thriving to obtain self-interest and through exploiting self-control resources, during which contextual factors would weaken or strengthen the effect. But how do these factors exert impacts on people’s intentional unethical behavior? According to previous studies, two competitive motivations (the motivation of maintaining moral self-concept vs. the motivation of grabbing the interest) play an underlying role in the process including the evaluation of potential costs and benefits, pre-justification of the impending violations, occurrence of unethical behaviors and post-justification of the happened violations. When facing temptations to conduct unethical behaviors or violations, people would first perceive the threats to be moral self-concept. The motivation of maintaining a positive self-image would be then activated and the pre-violation self-justification strategies (such as tokens preference, self-serving altruism and moral licensing) were to be adopted to buffer the inner conflict, which can help to balance the two motivating forces. Eventually people would conduct unethical behavior in comfort zone, where they gain some financial benefits but still maintain their positive moral self-concept. That means people would consciously avoid minor unethical behavior, which would not bring significant external interest, neither major unethical behavior which would be at the expense of spoiling positive self-concept. After conducting unethical behavior, moral self-concept would be threatened and thus the motivation of maintaining positive self-image would be activated again. In this situation, through specific post-violation selfjustification strategies (such as moral cleansing, moral disengagement, motivated forgetting and moral hypocrisy), moral self-concept would eventually be protected. Future research is expected to give more emphasis on exploring behavioral and psychological mechanisms, especially understanding and avoiding unethical behavior in the perspective of mental motivation and being aware of unconscious factors and processes. Longitudinal tracking methods and the unethical behaviors in the internet context are also supposed to be paid more attention in the future.

Keyword不道德行为 个体因素 情景因素 心理过程 道德自我概念
Indexed ByCSCD
Citation statistics
Document Type期刊论文
Corresponding Author王詠
First Author AffilicationKey Laboratory of Mental Health, CAS
Corresponding Author AffilicationKey Laboratory of Mental Health, CAS
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
王亚婷,王詠. 明知故犯?故意不道德行为的影响因素和心理过程[J]. 心理科学,2018,41(02):371-377.
APA 王亚婷,&王詠.(2018).明知故犯?故意不道德行为的影响因素和心理过程.心理科学,41(02),371-377.
MLA 王亚婷,et al."明知故犯?故意不道德行为的影响因素和心理过程".心理科学 41.02(2018):371-377.
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