ETHICAL DECISION MAKING: THE MODERATING EFFECTS OF CONTEXTUAL VARIABLES ON A MODIFIED THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOR
Chia, N.N. and Chia, A., National University of Singapore, Singapore
According to the theory of planned behavior, a person's intentions to perform a behavior is a function of three determinants (Ajzen, 1988; 1991; 1996). These three factors are the individual's attitude toward the behavior, his perceived social pressure to perform or not to perform the behavior and his perceived behavior control in performing the behavior under consideration. Past work using the theory mainly focused on the model's predictive accuracy and its application to different contexts. In recent years, there were also numerous attempts to augment the model with new variables to improve its predictive and explanatory power. However, relatively little work focused on the role of contextual variables as moderators on the model. For instance, the influence of pervasive characteristics of natural decision process, such as accountability and social influences, seemed to receive less attention in the theory of planned behavior literature. Therefore, this study proposes to (1) investigate the moderating effects of two contextual variables, accountability and presence of legitimate authority, on the theory of planned behavior and (2) explore the usefulness of perceived effort in improving the prediction and explanation of behavioral intentions. A secondary aim is to clarify the dimensions of the perceived behavioral control construct. We test the usefulness of the model on two current organizational scenarios: retrenchment and use of electronic monitoring. The presence or absence of legitimate authority are manipulated as different conditions in the two scenarios. Likewise, accountability to parties affected by decision makers' choices are manipulated as high or low accountability conditions in the two scenarios.