Research shows that the effects of creative personality on moral disengagement and unethical behaviors are mixed. To reconcile the disparate findings, we draw on interdependence theory to unravel how and when creative personality is related to moral disengagement through countervailing pathways. Specifically, we propose competitive motivation and prosocial motivation as two distinct mechanisms that explain the double-edged effects of creative personality on moral disengagement and subsequent unethical behaviors. Furthermore, we hypothesize a cross-level moderating effect of competitive climate on the relationships between competitive/prosocial motivation and moral disengagement. Results based on three-wave data from 753 employees showed that creative personality increased moral disengagement and subsequent unethical behaviors through competitive motivation but decreased moral disengagement and subsequent unethical behaviors through prosocial motivation. In addition, competitive climate weakened the negative relationship between prosocial motivation and moral disengagement and the negative indirect relationship between creative personality and unethical behaviors via prosocial motivation and moral disengagement.
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Project sponsorNational Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
fund for building world-class universities (disciplines) of Renmin University of China