This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

To Act Ethically or Not to Act Ethically: A Whole Person-Situation Interactionist Perspective to Prediction




Ritterbush, Elizabeth

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




The concept of what it means to be ethical and therefore the types of decisions that comprise ethical decision making had been a widely debated topic for centuries. This may be due in no small part to the proposed contextual nature of the construct itself. The primary goal of this project was to investigate the interaction between personality and situational context effects on the prediction of ethical decision making in a workplace setting. In addition, a comparison of major personality theories as predictors was conducted. This was done using a between-subject experimental design that allowed for the manipulation of two aspects of organizational ethical culture. All research was conducted online with an undergraduate student sample. Results indicated the predictive value of using the trait of Honesty-Humility as a predictor of ethical decision making. However, the results did not support the interaction effect with organizational context. Overall findings and implications are discussed. It is recommended that future research learn from the limitations of this study to develop more immersive contextual manipulations and/or use other ethical decision outcome measures.