OTTRS Speaker Series: How Leaders Drive Followers’ Unethical Behavior ft. Dr. Debra Shapiro

Event Start Date: Friday, September 23, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Event End Date: Friday, September 23, 2022 - 1:00 pm

Location: Virtual EST, Registration Required

In the first public speaker of the Fall 2022 OTTRS Speaker Series, University of Maryland Professor Debra Shapiro will present findings from research on the effects of leader immorality encouragement on followers’ unethical behavior. REGISTER NOW

Abstract: Numerous organizational scandals have implicated leaders in encouraging employees to advance organizational objectives through unethical means. However, leadership research has not examined leaders’ encouragement of unethical behaviors. We define leader immorality encouragement (LIE) as an employee’s perception that their leader encourages unethical behaviors on behalf of the organization. Across four studies, we found, as hypothesized, that: (1) LIE promotes employees’ unethical behavior carried out with the intention to aid the organization (unethical pro-organizational behavior); (2) this relationship is mediated by employees’ moral disengagement and the expectation of rewards; (3) LIE, via moral disengagement, enhances employees’ self-serving unethical behavior; and (4) the relationship between LIE and unethical behavior is stronger when the leader has long-presumed “good qualities,” such as a higher (rather than lower) quality exchange relationship with the employee and higher (rather than lower) organizational status. Debra’s presentation to OTTRS aims to provoke discussion about how AI (artificial intelligence) in and outside organizations increases as well as decreases the likelihood of unethical behavior (e.g., the spread, as well as fact-correction, of disinformation), hence how AI might moderate this study’s predicted and observed findings.

Speaker Bio: Debra L. Shapiro (Ph.D. Northwestern U) is the Clarice Smith Professor at the U of Maryland (UMD), formerly the Willard Graham Distinguished Professor at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) where she was 1986-2003. Dr. Shapiro has led UNC’s and MD’s business schools’ PhD Programs (as Associate Dean at UNC from 1998-2001 and as Assistant Dean at UMD from 2008-2011). Debra has also been Division Chair of The Academy of Management’s (AOM’s) Conflict Management Division, Representative-at-Large on AOM’s Board of Governors, Associate Editor of The Academy of Management Journal (as well as member of the editorial boards of AMJ, AMR, and other journals), AOM Program Chair/Vice-President, AOM President, and executive committee member for the Society of Organizational Behavior (SOB). Debra studies interpersonal-level dynamics in organizations such as negotiating, mediating, dispute-resolving, and procedural justice-enhancing strategies that enhance integrative (win-win) agreements, organizational justice, ethical work behaviors, and more generally, positive work attitudes and their associated behaviors. Debra studies, also, the challenges of obtaining positive results with the latter strategies when they involve culturally-diverse and/or artificially-intelligent work-colleagues. To study interpersonal dynamics, Debra has used varied methods, such as ethnography, interviews, surveys, negotiation- and dispute-resolving simulations, experiments (including some with electronic confederates), and longitudinal archival data. Debra is a Fellow of the AOM, SOB, and Association for Psychological Science (APS).

What is OTTRS? The Organizational Teams and Technology Research Society (OTTRS)  advances research and collaboration on multiple aspects of the study of teams relevant to technology and information, increasing relevant work both within UMD and in the Technology and Teaming community outside of UMD. This multidisciplinary networked group of researchers draws on unique areas of expertise to bridge literatures and research paradigms. We will achieve these goals via:

  • developing a regional, scholarly network of interested researchers and students,
  • running a speaker/seminar series of internal and external speakers,
  • encouraging collaborations and learning across disciplines, and
  • increasing the resources available for teams, information, and technology research and teaching.

Both radical and incremental improvements to current knowledge and practice are appreciated, as is any work on the basic to applied continuum. While we have a human focus, we are inspired by computational potential and technological advances.



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