Groups as Enablers of Unethical Behavior: The Role of Cohesion on Group Member Actions

Narayanan, J and Ronson, S and Pillutla, M (2006) Groups as Enablers of Unethical Behavior: The Role of Cohesion on Group Member Actions. In: Ethics in Groups. Emerald, pp. 127-147. ISBN 978184950405-8

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We present a conceptual model of ethical behavior in groups and the role of group cohesion in enabling unethical behavior. We make the distinction between unethical actions that benefit an individual's work group, and actions that benefit the individual to develop a typology of unethical actions. We propose that cohesion influences unethical actions of group members through three mechanisms – giving group members social support, enabling group members to diffuse responsibility for their actions throughout the group, and providing a rationale upon which group members can justify their actions to themselves. We hypothesize that group cohesion increases the likelihood of unethical actions that benefit the group, as well as the individual, while not affecting the group. In contrast, we expect cohesion to reduce the likelihood of unethical actions that harm the group. We also present boundary conditions by specifying how group norms and the status of the individual within the group affect the relationships that we propose. In a preliminary test of the hypotheses using scenarios, we found support for some parts of the model. We discuss the implications of our findings for ethical behavior in groups and organizations.

Affiliation: Indian School of Business
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ISB Creators
Pillutla, M 0000-0001-5529-5094
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: The research article was published by the author with the affiliation of London Business School
Uncontrolled Keywords: Unethical Behavior, Cohesion, Groups
Subjects: Organization Behavior
Depositing User: Gurusrinivasan K
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2021 16:32
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2021 16:32
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