ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (8): 1246-1255.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.01246

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The negative effects and underlying mechanisms of unethical pro-organizational behavior

WANG Taolin1, ZHANG Yong2, ZHOU Hao1(), ZHANG Junwei3   

  1. 1 College of Business, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China
    2 School of Economics and Business Administration, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400030, China
    3 College of Economics and Management, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
  • Received:2019-11-02 Online:2020-08-15 Published:2020-06-28
  • Contact: ZHOU Hao


In recent times, various tragedies caused by unethical pro-organizational behavior (UPB) — that is, unethical behavior with the intention to potentially benefit the organization, but harm the interests of external stakeholders instead—are proliferating. The existing studies on UPB predominately focus on identifying its antecedents and pro-organizational aspects, ignoring its potential negative outcomes. Given this theoretical gap, the negative effects of UPB from a multilevel perspective are explored. First, the effect of UPB on exhaustion is explored; the moderating effect of moral identity and mediating effect of guilt are examined as well. Second, a firm-level UPB definition is created, and its negative effect on the firm’s long-term performance as well as the mediating role of corporation reputation are examined. Finally, the influence of the firm’s and employees’ UPB on customers' voluntary performance is analyzed, as well as the mediating effect of customer identification on the company and the moderating role of the perceived corporation agent role of employees. The results of this project will not only enrich the theoretical study related to UPB, but also help to discourage the practice or escalation of this kind of unethical behavior.

Key words: unethical pro-organizational behavior, emotional exhaustion, long-term firm performance, customer voluntary performance

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