Moral disengagement as a mechanism between perceptions of organisational injustice and deviant work behaviours

             

Moral disengagement as a mechanism between perceptions of organisational injustice and deviant work behaviours

Abstract

Perceptions of organisational justice have been shown to influence numerous outcomes, including job satisfaction, organisational citizenship behaviours, and counter-productive behaviours. The present paper examines perceptions of organisational justice in relation to self-reported deviant work behaviours among crew-members (N = 340) working on board 11 combined freight and passenger ships in Norway. We suggest that two mechanisms of moral disengagement – diffusion and displacement of responsibility – act as mediating mechanisms in the link between injustice and deviant work behaviours. Deviant work behaviours are in the present context operationalized as risk-taking, non-compliance, and lack of participation. Structural equation models were used to assess our hypotheses, and the results show that perceptions of organisational injustice were positively associated with self-reported deviant work behaviours. Perceptions of injustice also increased the individual’s propensity to morally disengage, which in turn partially mediated the effect of justice perceptions on deviant work behaviours. The findings of the present study extend current research on the effect of organisational justice and points to moral disengagement as a potential mechanism in upholding deviant behaviour in the workplace.

Keywords

  • Maritime;
  • Organisational justice;
  • Moral disengagement;
  • Safety;
  • Deviant work behaviours

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