Edited by Katharina Gangl and Erich Kirchler
Chapter 9: Preventing wrongdoing and promoting ethical conduct: A regulatory focus approach to corporate ethical culture
In order to prevent future business scandals, researchers and practitioners alike have traditionally mainly focused on how to prevent ethical misconduct via compliance-oriented strategies, such as control and punishment. The authors posit that besides preventing unethical behaviour, promoting ethical conduct via integrity-oriented strategies should also be a topic of corporate ethical culture. The main goal of this chapter therefore is to outline thoroughly the potential implications of a compliance- and integrity-oriented ethical culture. In doing this, the authors propose that the differences of a compliance- and integrity-based culture may be best understood when considered in combination with individual motivational and behavioural processes at the workplace, such as regulatory focus. Specifically, in this chapter, they (a) clarify what could be meant by preventing unethical behaviour and promoting ethical behaviour, (b) address how compliance and integrity-based ethical culture affects work-related outcomes via regulatory focus, (c) address the implications of these individual-level psychological processes for conceptions of ethical corporate culture. They finish by addressing the demand that corporate ethical culture should integrate both a compliance and an integrity orientation.
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