The motivation and inhibition of breaking the rules : Personal values structures predict unethicality. / Feldman, Gilad; Chao, Melody Manchi; Farh, Jiing-Lih; Bardi, Anat.

In: Journal of Research in Personality, Vol. 59, 12.2015, p. 69-80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



  • Gilad Feldman
  • Melody Manchi Chao
  • Jiing-Lih Farh
  • Anat Bardi


We theorized and tested the relationship of personal value systems with unethical attitudes and behavior. Results from three studies using 16 diverse multi-national samples (N = 107,087) demonstrated the complexity of motivations underlying unethicality. Across contexts and cultures, for attitudes (Study 1 meta-analysis) and behaviors in the lab (Study 2) and in real-life (Study 3), we consistently found that the values theory circumplex structure predicted the inhibition and motivation of unethicality. Unethicality was positively associated with self-enhancement values and negatively associated with self-transcendence and conservation values. However, self-transcendence and conservation values were associated with the inhibition of different types of unethicality. The relationship of openness-to-change values with unethicality was generally positive but the effect size varied depending on context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Early online date9 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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