Cropanzano Mitchell In 2005 Commerce Essay


This Literature review intends to provide basis for the later research on the given topic. For this purpose, several articles of renowned authors were carefully studied and useful material was extracted for the better understanding of reader. Firstly, this study would review the previous work regarding negative reciprocity.

Cropanzano & Mitchell in 2005 said, normally reciprocity is usually deemed as positive reciprocity, except this negative reciprocity also exists, Negative reciprocity is explained as negative treatment is repaid with negative treatment.

Negative reciprocity takes place when an attempt is made to get someone to switch something which he would not want to give up or incase there is an effort to get those things which are cherished more than what you provide them in return.  This would engage deception, compulsion or solid bargaining.  For instance, a neighbor yours may be offered a new employment opportunity in a far-away city starting in couple of days.  There would be desperation to sell her car prior to her departure.  The car is almost new and it charged her 22,000 Rs.  She is offered 10,000 Rs which she halfhearted agrees to because she is out of options.  Taking advantage of her circumstances resulted in negative reciprocity.

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 It is not necessary that all the time negative reciprocity means taking advantage of someone.  In fact someone may be providing you with the additional than you believe that you are giving in return.  For instance a student who is poor but wanting to go to an expensive university will treat his rich uncle with respect and manner hoping he would financially help him.  As the uncle receives the extra attention, respect and recognition, he would gladly pay for the education.  The money which he is paying for the education has very little importance to him compared to the recognition that he is given. Similarly an employee who acts respectfully towards his employer just to get promoted could be deemed an attempt at gaining negative reciprocity advantage in the place of work. An example of negative reciprocity in action is penalty under the law. National laws typically do a lot more than just telling what is allowed and what is not. In addition to this, the law is also responsible to state what option is to be taken by the state in case an individual is found guilty to have violated the law. Naturally the penalties are relative in size to the seriousness of the offense. An individual would be punished and fined to a very small extent for violating a parking regulation, whereas the penalty for rape or murder will engage a lot of years in jail.  The reciprocal actions in these cases, is designed to be approximately equal to the harm caused by violating the law. In these cases the reciprocal actions, is designed to be just about identical to the damage which is caused by violating the law.

Starting with the work of Güth et al. in 1982 this principle was explained as bargaining tool where people reject positive offers. So it may be suggested that unfair demands leads to unkind responses. In1985 Masuch and in 1999 Anderson & Perason concluded that, In the place of work, people may negatively reciprocate their perception of unfair handling in their own manner and actions. A spiral of action and reaction may be called 'deviation amplifying', as the unethical actions of one group leads to the unethical reaction of the second group, consequences are gradually more counterproductive organizational behaviors.

In the recently published study, Harris et al. in 2007 supported this logic of action. The study found that subordinates usually decrease their job performance is response to an abusive supervisor. Looking from a different perspective, Lee & Brotherigde in 2006 found that both oral abuse and work were linked to reciprocal form of maltreatment. While asserting the universality of the reciprocity norm, Gouldner in 1960 approved that it was not unconditional. He said, a decision of a person to reciprocate would be dependent upon the attributed value of the benefit which would be received. In different cultures this norm functions differently. Thus, it may be concluded that we can't see all relations from the prism of reciprocity. Blau, 1964 and Schwartz, 1977 supposed that, it could be that the propensity to administer all associations by the customs of reciprocity may not be as obvious and influential in all circumstances. Which necessitate clarification is the wide range of social contact that is allowed but not essential by ethical norms. Chatman and Barsade also worked on social exchange theory in 1995. Blau, 1964; Chatman & Barsade, 1995 stated that the theory of exchange may present a clarification by highlighting the reciprocity-based social process underlying most human relations. Putting in simple words, regardless of any effect of professional moral codes the principle of reciprocity may dominate.

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Negative reciprocity consists of what economists term barter. An individual gives goods and he expects to be provided or repaid instantly with some other goods of the similar value. Negative reciprocity may engage the smallest amount of trust and largest amount of social distance. Negative reciprocity was a common form of exchange to set up responsive relations in non industrial cultures among diverse groups.

A negative reciprocity takes place when a behavior that would have a negative outcome upon someone else is reciprocated with the behavior that has almost alike but negative effect upon on another. If the response is almost equal or the response is worse, the reaction has a much greater negative effect upon the first person, the feedback would possibly be evaluated unfair. Negative reciprocity justice necessitates that negative behavior should be reciprocated in kind; a "quid pro quo" type of reaction, said by economist Steven Suranovic.

 Now I shall provide a link between the Organizational ethics and Deviant behavior of employee which was previously discussed in reciprocity literature review.

Organizational ethical culture and deviant behavior evolved from the subject of Organizational behavior. The point of organizational behavior is to add a greater understanding of those issues that influence individual and group dynamics in an organizational surroundings so that individuals and the groups and organizations to which they belong may become more efficient and effective. The field also takes in the scrutiny of organizational factors that may have an influence upon individual and group behavior. A great deal of organizational behavior research is eventually intended at providing human resource management professionals with the knowledge and tools they require to select, train, and keep employees in a fashion that yields utmost benefit for the individual employee as well as for the organization.

According to Key, 1999, Organizational ethical culture is the general belief regarding the overall morals of a company which are shared not only by its associates but is supported on a range where at one side are the unethical companies and at the other, highly ethical companies. The objective of the study is to qualitatively prove the relationship among company's moral culture and negative impact on organizational deviance through negative reciprocity. Key, in 1999 mentioned that an ethical action by trade leaders sends messages on authorized and unauthorized actions. In simple words leaders behavior usually guide the ethical code of conduct for the rest of members of organization. Secondly, Smith in 2003 stated that immoral actions is like a dagger in the heart, and lack of honesty have led to the downfall of gigantic companies that are Enron, MCI, World com, Adelphi a, and Global Crossing. Furthermore, the idea of ethical actions and ethical behavior in the organization have made the researchers, educators and the general public to take interest just because unethical practices being the reason of corporate failures. Due to an estimated loss of $63 million in Enron investments by Texas State Employees retirement fund, according to the Associated Press 2002 report the investing public does not see business ethics as a useful topic anymore with regard to its practicality and in education. Accounting fraud and greed resulted in Enron's bankruptcy.

Moreover the picture of accounting firms such as Arthur Andersen in the corporate "downturn" has affected the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) "brand" by deteriorating its reliability. Organizational ethics and their relationship with deviant behavior which are usually crimes gained importance in USA after these reported incidents. Previous studies argued that company moral training and practice give intervention and promotes the institutionalization of ethical cultures in organizations.

Majority of the organization have strong ethical base that helps them to take ethically sound decision even when they are to face undesirable short term consequences. However, recently it has been seen on Wall Street and in other places a lot of organizations are fast to put immediate economic gain before ethics. Even if the immoral or unethical behaviors are expedient they eventually influence the employees and the organization in a negative manner. Maintaining high ethical values is the only way to fabricate sustainable success.

The idea of a moral organization may look conceptual, so far individuals who are working in an organization with strong ethics are completely aware of it. These employees are in love with their jobs, and they eventually produce improved, more successful organizations.

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Ajzen's in 1991 presented a theory of planned behavior that can be used as an instrument to achieve the research objectives. Intentions are determinants of behavior, in response, which is determined by attitude toward behavior [e.g. beliefs], subjective norm [e.g. influence of peers, social and professional groups], and perceived behavioral control [e.g. control beliefs]. By using TPB (Theory of planned behavior) in ethical decision making research has immensely benefited the discipline of business administration. For example, theory was used to investigate various behaviors (e.g. tax compliance Bobek and Hatfield in 2003, business ethics and corporate social policy Epstein in 1998, ethical problems in public accounting Finn in 1998], and academics commitment to ethics Gunz and McCutcheo in 1998).  

In a review of ethical decision-making (behavior) research, Geriesh (2003) examined organizational culture and fraudulent financial reporting. Geriesh, in 2003 said that those companies who are involved in corporate illegal activities in the past are more likely to issue false financial statements. Frauds were increased when a person inside the company or others have considerable ties to the company's boards of directors. Smith in 2003 said that regardless of the volume of the company, there is no company which is protected from scam and even from that felony which is directed towards more crimes. So unethical culture according to smith will lead to fraud and more crime where negative social exchange between employees is increasingly common. Geriesh in 2003 points out that there is a "slippery slope" of unlawful activities that starts with small violations and grows into a culture that approves such behavior. Culture is described by the great Scholars as the way employee do things in an organization.

Key in 1999 stated that moral culture of an institution sends messages as to authorized and unauthorized activities from upper level of management. The employees in the most of the organization in insurance industry train on ethical values which are institutionalized over time. 

Supporting the work of Key, there is one more method of looking at ethics which is deemed as an individual model and not an intuitional one. It displays a larger worry for the ethical certainty of persons. This analysis highlights that individuals make the right decision, not the organizations. It emphasizes that asset comes from the individuals who make up the many small groups and better organization, from families to voluntary associations to multinational corporations. The objective is to bring a change in the individual to transform the organization. More answers are sought through education and/or religion to reach the individual in the belief that individuals who are transformed will transform their institutions.  

President Kennedy said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." Apart from this think! , is it possible that all the boats are lifted by the rising tide? Not if few of the boats have holes in them. So this saying supports the logic of individual ethical approach to organizations.

So we can conclude the above argument that unethical culture becomes institutionalized over the time and negative reciprocity become norm of the culture. Deviant behavior is usually sanctioned by leaders and top brass of an organization.  

It has been also explained by other authors like Reigle in his study on organizational ethics. He stated that ethical culture of the organization turns out to be a major part of the common beliefs, and guiding principles that have a great impact on employee actions. Logically, an individual would be expecting that the important moral principles and way of life that support organizational ethical culture be associated to the actions, activities and intentions of those who share in that culture. It is very important for the company to communicate the exact message regarding its ethical culture to all employees. As Key stated ethical actions are determined by ethical culture. Immoral or unethical culture is quite like a spreading cancer that ultimately devour great personalities. Jones puts it better: It is not always possible that ethical behavior pays off but it's certain that lack of ethical behavior does hurt the organization.