Perceived organizational forgiveness, punitive intent, ethical decision-making
Although management scholars have examined various antecedents of punishment in the workplace, there has been scant research on how perceptions of the organizational context influence decision-making regarding punishment. Building on the work of Cameron and colleagues (Cameron, Bright, & Caza, 2004; Cameron & Caza, 2002), I propose that one's perceived organizational forgiveness - the perception of the extent to which the workplace is forgiving - is negatively related with one's punitive intent in response to ethical misconduct. In addition, I identify variables involving the disciplinary agent and the ethical misconduct itself as moderators of this relationship. In a lab study and a field study, I tested the main effect of perceived organizational forgiveness and the moderating effects of these other variables on punitive intent. Data from the lab study provided evidence of the hypothesized main effect and suggested that the effect holds when the disciplinary agent is high in accountability and when the misconduct has resulted in serious damage to the organization. Data from the field study suggested that the negative relationship between perceived organizational forgiveness and punitive intent seemed to hold only when an experience of being forgiven is salient in the mind of the disciplinary agent and there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the ethical misconduct that is the subject of punishment. Surprisingly, the field study results suggested a positive relationship between perceived organizational forgiveness and punitive intent when an experience of being denied forgiveness is salient to the disciplinary agent. The limitations of these studies and potential implications of the findings are then discussed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Business Administration
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Salvador, Rommel, "Perceived Organizational Forgiveness And Punitive Intent" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3464.