ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (11): 2047-2056.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2013.02047

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Decision-making under Ethical Temptation: How Construal Level Theory May Help

YAN Jin;LOU Chunhua   

  1. (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China)
  • Received:2012-12-12 Online:2013-11-15 Published:2013-11-15
  • Contact: YAN Jin


Ethical temptation is defined as moral judgment situations in which unethical decisions are made due to failure of self-control especially in inter-temporal choices. According to the construal level theory, individual difference in construal level may impact decision-making under ethical temptation. When facing ethical temptations, individuals with a high construal level are likely to aware the ethical principles imbedded in the decision-making process, form ethical judgment, and behave in ways that are consistent with ethical principles through the mechanism of self-control. On the other hand, individuals with a low construal level may pay attention to short-term instrumental outcomes by deliberative thinking, overlook the ethical principles, and behave unethically. Therefore, we argue that the construal level theory is a theoretical tool with practical implications in understating decision-making under ethical temptation.

Key words: ethical temptation, inter-temporal choice, ethical decision making, construal level theory, self- control