Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The purpose of this thesis was to conduct preliminary research concerning how a manager might resolve a work-related ethical problem. In a series of three experiments, subjects were asked to determine how a manager might respond to a superior's request to dump chemical wastes. Based on the work of Tetlock (1986), Seligman & Katz (1988), and Randall (1987), it was proposed that information regarding the manager's value priorities and organizational commitment might help determine the manager's likely responses to this request. In Study 1, subjects were told that a manager was either a value monist (i.e., he valued either an organizationally relevant value, corporate prosperity, or a societally relevant value, environmental cleanliness), or a value pluralist (i.e., he valued both values equally). Subjects in the corporate prosperity condition rated the actor as most likely to act in the organization's interests, whereas the environmental cleanliness group rated him as least likely to do so. As compared to these two groups, on average, respondents in the value pluralist group rated the actor as moderately likely to behave in the organization's interests and less confident in his decision regarding ethical conduct. In Study 2 it was determined that in situations of value conflict, organizational commitment information changed perceptions of potential responses to the ethical problem. When told that the manager had low levels of organizational commitment, subjects perceived him as being more likely to act pro-socially, whereas information suggesting high levels of commitment led to judgements of pro-organizational conduct. Study 3 was conducted to determine whether the effects of commitment information were equally powerful when subjects were told that the manager was a value monist. The general finding was that commitment information had more impact in situations of value pluralism than in conditions of value monism.



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