The Big 5 Personality Traits and Willingness to Justify Unethical Behavior—A Cross-National Examination

  • Aditya SimhaEmail author
  • Praveen K. Parboteeah
Original Paper


In this paper, we examine the relationships between three of the Big 5 personality traits (conscientiousness, openness to experience, and agreeableness) and willingness to justify unethical behavior. We also consider the moderating relationship of four of the GLOBE cultural dimensions (institutional collectivism, humane orientation, performance orientation, and assertiveness) on the above relationship. We tested our propositions on a sample of 38,655 individuals from 23 different countries obtained from the latest data available from the World Values Survey Group’s survey (WVS 2014). We found that conscientiousness and agreeableness were both negatively associated with willingness to justify unethical behavior. We also conducted Hierarchical Linear Modeling and found significant interaction effects of selected GLOBE cultural dimensions (humane orientation, assertiveness, institutional collectivism, and performance orientation) on the relationships between personality traits and willingness to justify unethical behavior. We provide managerial implications of our findings, as well as suggestions for future research.


Personality traits Unethical behavior justification GLOBE study dimensions National culture World Values Survey 



No funding associated with this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Both authors of this paper declare that there is no conflict of interest for either of them, pertaining to this study.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. The data was available through the World Values Survey data and is secondary data.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, ManagementWhitewaterUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, ManagementWhitewaterUSA

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