We utilize social learning theory to test the role-modeling effect of supervisor expediency (i.e., a supervisor's use of unethical practices to expedite work for self-serving purposes). In particular, we examine the relationship between supervisor expediency and employee expediency, as moderated by leader–member exchange (LMX) and mediated by employee unethical tolerance. We predict that employees are more likely to model their supervisors' expedient behaviors when their relationship is characterized by high-LMX (a high-quality exchange relationship that is rich in socioemotional support). Furthermore, we argue that supervisor expediency, especially when LMX is high, influences employees' attitudes of unethical tolerance, which then affects employees' expedient behaviors. Across 2 multisource field studies and a third time-lagged field study, we found general support for our theoretical predictions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- behavioral ethics
- unethical behavior