Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

The motivation of mission statements: how regulatory mode influences workplace discrimination


Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Kanze D;Conley M A;Higgins E T



Publication Year



Despite concerted efforts to enforce ethical standards, transgressions continue to plague US corporations. This paper investigates whether the way in which an organization pursues its goals can influence ethical violations, manifested as involvement in discrimination. We test this hypothesis among franchises, which employ a considerable amount of low-income workers adversely affected by discrimination. Drawing upon Regulatory Mode Theory, we perform a linguistic analysis of franchise mission statements to determine their degree of locomotion and assessment language. EEOC archival data for the past decade reveals that regulatory mode predicts franchise involvement in discrimination. Discriminatory behavior is associated with franchises whose mission statements motivate employees to embrace urgent action (locomotion mode) over thoughtful consideration (assessment mode). Two experiments demonstrate that participants exposed to high locomotion mission statements tend to disregard ethical standards due to their need for expediency, making significantly more discriminatory managerial decisions than those exposed to high assessment mission statements.


Locomotion; Assessment; Ethical standards; Workplace discrimination; Mission statements; Linguistic analysis; Regulatory mode dictionary

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox