Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 124, Issue 1, pp 35–46 | Cite as

Behavioral Factors Affecting Students’ Intentions to Enroll in Business Ethics Courses: A Comparison of the Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Cognitive Theory Using Self-Identity as a Moderator



The current study used both Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (TPB) and Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) to examine the intentions of business undergraduate students toward taking elective ethics courses and investigated the role of self-identity in this process. The study was prospective in design; data on predictors and intentions were obtained during the first collection of data, whereas the actual behavior was assessed 10 days later. Our results indicated that the TPB was a better predictor of behavioral intentions than was SCT. As expected, self-identity served as a moderator in the relationship between perceived behavioral control and behavioral intentions posited by the TPB and in the relationship between outcome expectancy and behavioral intentions posited by SCT. Self-identity was a crucial factor in predicting actual behavior within both theoretical frameworks.


Business ethics education Self-identity Social cognitive theory Theory of planned behavior 



The authors would like to thank the National Science Council of the Republic of China for financially supporting this research (NSC 100-2511-S-165-002), and Prof. Wan Chin-Sheng and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of FinanceTainan University of TechnologyTainanTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of International BusinessSouthern Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTainanTaiwan

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