Antecedents to the Justification of Norm Violating Behavior Among Business Practitioners

Scott J. Vitell, Megan Keith, Manisha Mathur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study investigates the role that moral identity, religiosity, and the institutionalization of ethics play in determining the extent of justification of norm violating behavior among business practitioners. Moral justification is where a person, rather than assuming responsibility for an outcome, attempts to legitimize ethically questionable behavior. Results of the study indicate that both the internalization and symbolization dimensions of moral identity as well as intrinsic religiosity and the explicit institutionalization of ethics within the organization are significant determinants of the moral justification of unethical behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • institutionalization of business ethics
  • moral identity
  • moral justification
  • norm violating behavior
  • religiosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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