Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Barnett, Tim

Committee Member

Pearson, Allison

Committee Member

Pearson, Rodney

Committee Member

Kellermanns, Franz

Committee Member

Engelland, Brian

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


Although most research in behavioral ethics has drawn heavily upon cognition, as exemplified by Kohlberg’s seminal work on moral development, recent research has focused on the self-regulatory aspect of moral identity and its relevance to ethical and moral behavior in organizations. Individual moral identity is a potentially important component of one’s self concept and has been shown empirically to have distinct associations with behavioral outcomes related to ethics in organizational settings. In particular, the importance or salience of moral identity to one’s overall sense of identity is thought to be a significant predictor of ethical or unethical behavior. Although less attention has been directed toward the organization member’s perception of the moral identities of the organizations in which they work, this dissertation argues that organizations indeed have moral identities, and that the organization member’s perception of organizational moral identity is likely to have an impact on his or her productive and counterproductive organizational behaviors. The focus of this study is two fold. First, a theoretical framework was developed integrating the congruence of an individual’s and organizations moral identity with various behavioral outcomes. From this framework theoretically justified hypotheses linking moral identity congruence with specific behaviors were established. Secondly, empirical tests were conducted examining the hypothesized impact of different forms of moral identity congruence (incongruence) on organizational citizenship behaviors and specific types of deviant behaviors. Results are supportive that moral identity congruence does impact behavioral outcomes, most specifically organizationally benefiting misbehaviors. A weak-weak moral identity congruence was shown to positively associate with organizationally benefiting misbehaviors in both studies.