Likert Dissertation Prize Winner: Madeline Ong, Singapore Management University

Beliefs about the Malleability of Moral Character
Madeline Ong

Description

Semester: 
Winter 2018
Lecture Time: 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 
R0220 Ross School of Business
Introduced By: 
Eun Bit Hwang

Abstract

My dissertation explores how individuals’ implicit beliefs about the malleability of moral character influence their attitudinal and behavioral responses in the aftermath of their wrongdoing. Across four studies, individuals’ beliefs that moral character can be developed were related to higher levels of self-forgiveness in the aftermath of wrongdoing, both when these beliefs were measured (Study 1) and when they were experimentally manipulated (Studies 2 to 4). Furthermore, a structured reflection intervention eliminated the limitations of beliefs that moral character is fixed, such that those with beliefs that moral character is fixed were just as likely as those with beliefs that moral character can be developed to display self-forgiveness in the aftermath of wrongdoing (Study 3). Finally, self-forgiveness resulted in behavioral consequences; self-forgiveness mediated the relationship between individuals’ belief about the malleability of moral character and their likelihood of repeating the wrongdoing (Study 4). Overall, this research contributes to our understanding about how individuals’ beliefs about the malleability of moral character can influence their attitudes to their past transgressions and their subsequent behavioral change.

Recording & Additional Notes

Madeline Ong is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior & Human Resources at Singapore Management University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business. She earned her Ph.D. in Management and Organization at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Her current research interests include ethics and leadership development. Her research has been published at the Journal of Applied Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Reading List

Ong, M., Mayer, D. M., Tost, L. P., & Wellman, N. (2018). When corporate social responsibility motivates employee citizenship behavior: The sensitizing role of task significance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 144, 44-59.

Bauman, C. W., Tost, L. P., & Ong, M. (2016). Blame the shepherd not the sheep: Imitating higher-ranking transgressors mitigates punishment for unethical behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 137, 123-141.