Recent research on the dynamics of moral behavior has documented two contrasting phenomena—moral consistency and moral balancing. Moral balancing refers to the phenomenon whereby behaving ethically or unethically decreases the likelihood of engaging in the same type of behavior again later. Moral consistency describes the opposite pattern—engaging in ethical or unethical behavior increases the likelihood of engaging in the same type of behavior later on. The three studies reported here supported the hypothesis that individuals’ ethical mind-set (i.e., outcome-based vs. rule-based) moderates the impact of an initial ethical or unethical act on the likelihood of behaving ethically on a subsequent occasion. More specifically, an outcome-based mind-set facilitated moral balancing, and a rule-based mind-set facilitated moral consistency.
moral balancing, moral consistency, ethical mind-sets, ethical behavior, morality, goals, decision making
Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Organizational Behavior and Theory
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Cornelisson, Gert; BASHSHUR, Michael Ramsay; Rode, Julian; and Le Menestrel, Marc.
Rules or Consequences? The Role of Ethical Mind-Sets in Moral Dynamics. (2013). Psychological Science. 24, (4), 482-488. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/3593
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