Self-efficacy as an intervening variable between ethical work climate and decision making
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Purpose: This paper aims to present and empirically evaluate a model proposing self-efficacy of employees to be an intervening variable between their perception of ethical climate (independent variable) and their decision making when faced with an ethical dilemma (dependent variable). Design/methodology/approach: 276 public sector human resource practitioners (HRPs) were presented with 15 scenarios. Each scenario contained an organisational directive or situation serving to compromise their capacity to deliver an ethical outcome. Participants' responses consisted of a set of possible actions varying in the degree to which they would, or would not, comply with the directive. Findings: Results were consistent with the proposed model. Further, analysis found the data to fit poorly to an alternative model proposing ethical climate and self-efficacy to both act directly on decision making. In addition self-efficacy was found to explain a large proportion of the difference between (a) HRPs' prediction of their own likely behaviour, and (b) the behaviour they judged to be ideal. Originality/value: This paper makes several contributions. First, it represents one of the few studies investigating both perception of ethical climate and self-efficacy. Second, it proposes and tests a possible pathway by which perception of ethical climate influences employee behaviour. Third, it examines the degree to which self-efficacy explains the 'short-fall' between an employee's own proposed action, and the action the employee judges to be ideal.
e-Journal of Social & Behavioural Research in Business
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