Self-evaluation bias of social comparisons in ethical decision making: The impact of accountability

Milorad Novicevic, M. Ronald Buckley, Michael G. Harvey, Helen Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to examine how accountability and judgment biases that occur in social comparisons may be related to ethical decision making. Using Jones' (1991) model as the theoretical framework to investigate this phenomenon, we found that self-enhancing individuals (i.e., those who thought they were more ethical in comparison to their peers) demonstrated higher responsiveness to increases in accountability than did self-effacing individuals (i.e., those who thought they were less ethical in comparison to their peers). We discuss these findings and outline the implications for future ethics research. Further, we provide practical guidance to those who administer ethics compliance programs on effective ways of facilitating ethical behavior in organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1091
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


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