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IACM 2022

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No Pain, No (Ethical) Gain? Faultlines, Ethical Decisions, and Group Cohesion

Drawing on group faultlines and behavioral ethics literatures, we examine the influences of faultlines on group’s ethical decision making in performance dilemmas that present tensions between performance expectations and ethical values. We also theorize about potential costs of ethical group decisions, especially for group cohesion, and propose ways to manage these costs. Using multi-source, multi-wave data from a longitudinal simulation study with advanced student engineering teams, we found that engineering teams with strong informational faultlines made more ethical decisions than teams with weak informational faultlines. These ethical decisions, in turn, had negative consequences for group cohesion, yet were mitigated by increased task commitment and task interdependence of the members. Taken together, this research provides a new avenue for understanding and promoting ethical group decision making in groups and organizations.

Jihyeon Kim
Purdue University
United States

Katerina Bezrukova
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
United States

Denise Loyd
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
United States

Chester Spell
Rutgers University
United States

Hisham Said
Santa Clara University
United States


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