Competition and sensemaking in ethical situations

Jay J. Caughron, Alison L. Antes, Cheryl K. Stenmark, Chaise E. Thiel, Xiaoqian Wang, Michael D. Mumford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Competition was examined in relation to ethicality. The effect of a competitor being an in-group vs. out-group member, the competitor offering uncorroborated or corroborated information, and the impact of the competitor goals were examined. The findings suggest that the way competition is presented has an important influence on how individuals make sense of an ethically ambiguous situation and make ethical decisions. A main effect was found, such that when a competitor offered uncorroborated information, participants made less ethical decisions and used pro-ethical reasoning strategies less often. An additional main effect was found suggesting that participants made more ethical decisions when working with an in-group competitor rather than an out-group competitor. Complex interactive effects were also found and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1507
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013


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