Extending the Self-Regulatory Model Linking High Goals and Unethical Behavior: The Moderating Effects of Goal Commitment and Subconscious Priming
AuthorWelsh, David Thomas
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRecent research has demonstrated that over time, consecutive high performance goals can increase unethical behavior by depleting one's self-regulatory resources (Welsh & Ordóñez, 2014). In this study, I extend the mediated model connecting goals, depletion, and unethical behavior. First, I propose that the depleting effects associated with a single goal can increase depletion and facilitate unethicality both in pursuit of the goal and also in unrelated areas. Second, I draw from the goal-setting literature to hypothesize that high levels of goal commitment will moderate the relationship between high performance goals and depletion by strengthening this effect. Third, I integrate research related to information processing to hypothesize that because automatic processing influences behavior more when participants are depleted, subconscious ethical priming will moderate the relationship between depletion and unethical behavior by attenuating this effect. A laboratory study is presented to test the expanded model combining mediation and moderation, adding to our understanding of the factors that influence the strength of the relationship connecting high performance goals and unethical behavior. Results generally did not support the developed model and a number of potential limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College