Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Kristin Sommer

Committee Members

Harold Goldstein

Daniele Artistico

Robert Silzer

Mary Kern

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


unethical decision-making, ethical climate, p-o fit, personality, behavior


Unethical decision-making (UDM) in organizations is a topic with a long history in practice and a short history in research. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore whether individual and organizational values interacted to predict Person-Organization Fit (P-O Fit) and UDM. Across two studies I tested the idea that individuals would report better P-O Fit in caring ethical climates to the degree that they reported greater trait empathy, and better P-O Fit in instrumental ethical climates to the degree that they reported greater levels of the Dark Triad traits. I also tested the idea that better P-O Fit would lead to more UDM, and that P-O Fit would mediate the interaction of ethical climate and personality on UDM. Study 1 (n =119) was an experimental study with undergraduate students wherein ethical climate was manipulated and personality was measured. Study 2 was a survey study (n = 83) with organizational employees wherein ethical climate was measured. Study 1 found support for the predicted interaction between climate and trait empathy on P-O fit. However, empathy was related to lower rather than higher UDM in caring climates. Study 2 provided support for the hypothesis that employees high in the Dark Triad would report better P-O fit in instrumental climates compared to caring climates, but P-O Fit remained unrelated to UDM. Further, the observed interaction between climate and Dark Triad held only for discrete and not continuous measures of climate. Limitations of the current designs and implications for research and practice are discussed.