The Role of Mere Exposure Effect on Ethical Tolerance: a Two-Study Approach

Journal of Business Ethics 58 (4):281-294 (2005)
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Abstract

This paper reports on the results from two studies that were conducted eight years apart with different respondents. The studies examined the role of the Mere Exposure Effect on ethical tolerance or acceptability of particular business decisions. The results from Study 1 show there is a significant difference in ethical judgment for 12 out of 16 vignettes between those who have been exposed to such situations compared to those who have not been exposed to them. In those 12 situations, those who have been exposed to such situations adopted a more tolerant stance toward the ethically questionable behavior. The results from Study 2 show there is a significant difference in ethical judgment for 9 out of 16 vignettes between those who have been exposed to such situations compared to those who have not been exposed to them. Again, in those nine situations, those who have been exposed to such situations adopted a more tolerant stance toward the ethically questionable behavior. Interestingly, the 9 situations in Study 2 were 9 of the 12 situations found to be significant in Study 1, and in the same direction, suggesting that we have found consistency in our findings and support for the Mere Exposure Effect. Implications are provided for both higher education and practitioners.

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References found in this work

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Emotion and Ethical Decision-Making in Organizations.Alice Gaudine & Linda Thorne - 2001 - Journal of Business Ethics 31 (2):175 - 187.

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