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Moral disengagement in processes of organizational corruption


Journal of Business Ethics


Organisational Behaviour

Publication Year



This paper explores Albert Bandura's concept of moral disengagement in the context of organizational corruption. First, the construct of moral disengagement is defined and elaborated. Moral disengagement is then hypothesized to play a role in the initiation of corruption by both easing and expediting individual unethical decision-making that advances organizational interests. It is hypothesized to be a factor in the facilitation of organizational corruption through dampening individuals’ awareness of the ethical content of the decisions they make. Finally, it is hypothesized to contribute to the perpetuation of corruption in organizations, because if individuals who have a greater propensity to morally disengage are more likely to make decisions that advance organizational interests regardless of the ethicality of those decisions, they may also be rewarded for those decisions in terms of organizational advancement. Together these studies form an argument that moral disengagement plays an important role in processes of organizational corruption.

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