Date of Original Version

3-2012

Type

Article

Rights Management

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication.

Abstract or Description

People who feel continuity with their future selves are more likely to behave in ethically responsible ways as compared to people who lack continuity with their future selves. We find that individual differences in perceived similarity to one’s future self predicts tolerance of unethical business decisions (Studies 1a and 1b), and that the consideration of future consequences mediates the extent to which people regard inappropriate negotiation strategies as unethical (Study 2). We reveal that low future self-continuity predicts unethical behavior in the form of lies, false promises, and cheating (Studies 3 and 4), and that these relationships hold when controlling for general personality dimensions and trait levels of self-control (Study 4). Finally, we establish a causal relationship between future self-continuity and ethical judgments by showing that when people are prompted to focus on their future self (as opposed to the future), they express more disapproval of unethical behavior (Study 5).

DOI

10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.11.002

Included in

Business Commons

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Published In

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117, 2, 298-310.