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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 29, Issue 1/4, 2010

A. N. M. Waheeduzzaman, Elwin Myers
Pages 155-174

Influence of Economic Reward and Punishment on Unethical Behavior
An Empirical Study

The study seeks to determine the influence of economic reward on unethical behavior with the help of a Reward Punishment Model. The model postulates that ethical or unethical behavior depends on the relationship among three factors: economic reward or benefit that a businessperson receives from the unethical practice, the severity of punishment the society imposes for such wrong-doing, and the probability of receiving the punishment. A short survey, which contained a hypothetical ethical situation, was administered to 251 respondents. The findings indicate that the probability of risk-taking decreases as the level of punishment and the chance of being caught increases.

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