Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

1-2015

Abstract

This research tested the idea that the risk of exclusion from one's group motivates group members to engage in unethical behaviors that secure better outcomes for the group (pro-group unethical behaviors). We theorized that this effect occurs because those at risk of exclusion seek to improve their inclusionary status by engaging in unethical behaviors that benefit the group; we tested this assumption by examining how the effect of exclusion risk on pro-group unethical behavior varies as a function of group members' need for inclusion. A 2-wave field study conducted among a diverse sample of employees working in groups (Study 1) and a constructive replication using a laboratory experiment (Study 2) provided converging evidence for the theory. Study 1 found that perceived risk of exclusion from one's workgroup predicted employees' engagement in pro-group unethical behaviors, but only when employees have a high (not low) need for inclusion. In Study 2, compared to low risk of exclusion from a group, high risk of exclusion led to more pro-group (but not pro-self) unethical behaviors, but only for participants with a high (not low) need for inclusion. We discuss implications for theory and the management of unethical behaviors in organizations.

Keywords

social exclusion, exclusion risk, pro-group unethical behavior, need for inclusion

Discipline

Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Journal of Applied Psychology

Volume

100

Issue

1

First Page

98

Last Page

113

ISSN

0021-9010

Identifier

10.1037/a0036708

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036708

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