להצדיק התנהגות לא נאותה

להצדיק התנהגות לא נאותה

An earlier version of this paper was published as: Fine, S., Rigbi, A., &Gottlieb-Litvin, Y. (2010). What were you thinking?! The justification of counterproductive work behaviors. Presented at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Diego, California.

Counterproductive work behaviors (CWB) in the form of criminal offenses, such as theft and fraud, are considered to be responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in financial losses, and are a serious problem for organizations around the world (Murphy, 1993). To mitigate the extent of CWBs, many organizations choose to use integrity tests to screen-out potentially high risk job candidates, as these tests are known to be valid predictors of CWBs in a variety of settings (Ones, Viswesvaran, &Schmidt, 1993(
Much of the rationale behind integrity testing is based on the theory that attitudes towards specific behaviors are predictive of those behaviors (Ajzen&Fishbein, 1977). Accordingly, integrity tests often include items with direct questions regarding attitudes towards CWBs, such that individuals who tend to endorse items which rationalize or justify CWBs in certain situations are thought to be more likely to engage in such behaviors themselves. However, since integrity tests have been traditionally developed empirically, very little theoretical information currently exists regarding the types and dimensions of these justification attitudes. The aim of this study, therefore, was to develop a theoretical typology for the justifications of CWBs.
To do so, we qualitatively analyzed data collected from three main sources: First, more than 500 items from several well-known integrity tests were judgmentally analyzed for justification scenarios. Second, the professional literature on integrity testing and CWB was reviewed for relevant content. Third, a series of focus-group sessions with eight expert criminologists and corporate security investigators were carried out to develop a list of typical justification scenarios.

In all, these efforts helped to identify more than 200 unique justification scenarios, which were then judgmentally sorted by the authors into specific types, and subsequently reviewed by the SMEs for consensus agreement. Finally, the justification types were rated by a sample of 108 undergraduates in questionnaire format and analyzed for their dimensionality.
The results of this process produced a theoretical model with three central Neo-Freudian defense mechanism domains, with a total of 6facets and 12 sub-facets. In describing these justifications, the first domain, labeled “denial”, refers to an overall refusal to admit any meaningful wrongdoing in one’s actions. Specifically, denial includes two facets: a) a perceived minimization of the act carried out due to either the negligible damages that were incurred as a result, or the non-malicious intent on behalf of the offender; b) a perceived normativeness of the act based on either its high prevalence to occur by others in similar contexts, or a believed necessity to have committed the act under the given circumstances.
The second domain, labeled “distortion”, refers to drawing illogical and sometimes hasty conclusions based on distorted perceptions of situational or emotionally influencing factors. It includes two facets: a) a perceived deservedness to act in an otherwise counterproductive way based on either a settling of personal debts owed to the offender, or privileges earned through prior achievements; b) a perceived opportunity to act, wherein the rewards outweigh the risk of being apprehended, resulting from either a temporary lack of supervision, or an opportunity to gain large and immediate pleasure.
The third justification domain, defined as “projection”, refers to an overall refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions, while placing the blame for one’s actions on an external source. Projection includes rationalizing one’s actions in two ways: a) as the result of deserved payback or revenge against others following either unfair treatment or personal disrespect; b) as an alleviation of great distress caused by either financial hardships or difficulties coping with emotional burdens.
While more research is planned to further validate this model, the results of this study are believed to make meaningful theoretical advancements in the understanding of how employees justify engaging in CWB.
References
Ajzen, I., &Fishbein, M. (1977).Attitude-behavior relations: A theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychological Bulletin 84, 888-918.
Murphy, K. R. (1993). Honesty in the work place. Pacific Grove, Ca: Brooks/Cole Publishing.
Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., &Schmidt, F. L. (1993). Comprehensive meta-analysis of integrity test validities: Findings and implications for personnel selection and theories of job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology (Monograph), 78, 679-703.

*Dr. Saul Fine, VP R&D, Midot.