Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Marketing

Advisor

Anand, Vikas

Abstract

This study examines how public perception of individuals pressured with unethical decisions can be dependent on perceived personality traits of the individual. An observer's perception is analyzed through two perspective behaviors: normative (desired) and expected. The two personality traits examined are perceived ambition and perceived individual power distance. Data was obtained for this study from a sample of 152 undergraduate students through a survey where respondents were randomly given one of four manipulated scenarios. The survey measured the respondent's beliefs on what an individual in the scenario should (normative) and would (expected) do when faced with an unethical decision. The results of this study suggest significant relationships between perceived power distance and an observer's perceptions on an individual's normative and expected behavior. There is a negative relationship between perceived power distance and normative behavior, suggesting that the larger the perceived power distance, the more likely an observer believes an individual's normative action should be ethical. However, there is a positive relationship between perceived power distance and expected behavior, suggesting as power distance becomes larger, an observer will expect the individual to act unethically.

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