Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 133–148 | Cite as

Investigating the Effects of Anger and Guilt on Unethical Behavior: A Dual-Process Approach

  • Daphna MotroEmail author
  • Lisa D. Ordóñez
  • Andrea Pittarello
  • David T. Welsh


Although emotion has become one of the most popular research areas within organizational scholarship, few studies have considered its connection with unethical behavior. Using dual-process theory, we expand on the rationalist perspective within the field of behavioral ethics by considering the process through which two discrete emotions, anger and guilt, influence unethical behavior. Across two studies using different methodologies, we found that anger increases unethical behavior whereas guilt reduces unethical behavior. These effects were mediated by impulsive and deliberative processing. Overall, our results shed light on distinct mechanisms through which emotions can influence unethical behavior. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


Anger Guilt Emotions Behavioral ethics Unethical behavior Dual processing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daphna Motro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lisa D. Ordóñez
    • 2
  • Andrea Pittarello
    • 3
  • David T. Welsh
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Management and OrganizationsUniversity of Arizona, Eller College of ManagementTucsonUSA
  2. 2.University of Arizona, Eller College of ManagementTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of BusinessTempeUSA

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