MORAL DISSONANCE AT WORK AND EMPLOYEES’ PSYCHO-PHYSICAL HEALTH
Keywords:corruption, employees, ethical dissonance, psycho-physical health, work ethic
The main objective of this research was to determine the frequency of the occurrence of moral dissonance in the workplace, and its possible consequences for employees’ psycho-physical health. External ethical dissonance at work is defined as a condition stemming from a discrepancy between the employee action and ethical standards in place in the organization, and is primarily caused by the unethical pressure of the management. A sample of 311 employees of both genders, employed both in the private and public sector, with different educational levels and of different ages and seniority, have applied measures of psycho-physical health, measures of frequency of ethical dissonance at work, and the Demographic Characteristics Questionnaire. Results show that out of 311 respondents, 72% of them report that they have been in a state of external ethical dissonance at least once in the past year, so we conducted further analyses on data gathered from these 224 employees. Factor analysis of the SUED2R questionnaire has revealed that measures of external ethical dissonance are classified into three indicators, according to the type of unethical pressure: lying for the benefit of the organization, harassing others, and supporting wrong people in the organization. We have found that the incidence of such ethical dissonance is significantly higher in the private than in the public sector, that the increased incidence of all three forms of work dissonance is associated with an increased incidence of symptoms of health disorders. It is concluded that the pressure to act unethically (corrupt behavior) probably contributes to the deterioration of employees’ health. The significance of these findings is that, for the first time, they clearly demonstrate a systematic link between pressuring employees into corrupt behavior, and their psycho-physical health.
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