Deceit, Misuse and Favours: Understanding and Measuring Attitudes to Ethics

Chris Perryer, B.D. Scott-Ladd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Society is increasing its demands for more ethical behaviour by managers of organizations. However, societal and workplace ethical attitudes are constantly evolving as generational differences and demographic diversity make the workplace more complex. While a number of studies have attempted to classify ethical attitudes into different categories, more work in this area is needed. This paper reports on a study that examined attitudes towards the acceptability of workplace behaviour that might be considered unethical. Graduate business students at an Australian university (n = 234) were asked to indicate the ethicality of 17 different behaviours, drawn from the business ethics literature. Exploratory factor analysis identified distinct factors, consisting of misuse of company resources, self-serving deceit, and the giving or receiving favours for personal gain. The derived factor structure was then tested with confirmatory factor analysis. Descriptive statistics indicated that misuse was considered less unethical than exchanging favours for personal gain. Deceit was considered the most unethical type of behaviour. Implications for managers and directions for further research are discussed. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-134
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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