Individual Beliefs About Organizational Ethics


This measure, (Individual Beliefs About Organizational Ethics) developed by Froelich and Kottke (1991), uses 10 items to describe the extent to which employees accept and support behaviors within an organization that may conflict with ethical norms. The measure contains two dimensions. The first is called support for the company, and it assesses the extent to which an employee disagrees with actions such as companies sometimes engaging in shady business practices due to competition or ask­ ing employees to falsify a document. The second dimension is called protect the company, and it assesses the extent to which it is unacceptable for an employee to lie to a customer, supervisor, or co-worker to protect the com­ pany. The measure has also been used as a single composite indicator of employee lack of acceptance of ethically dubious behaviors that benefit the company (Mudrack et al., 1999).


Coefficient alpha for support for the company was .84. Alpha for protecting the company was .82 (Froelich & Kottke, 1991). Coefficient alpha for the 10-item composite measure was .82 (Mudrack et al., 1999).


Both dimensions of support for the company and protecting the company correlated positively with tenure and organizational commitment. Froelich and Kottke (1991) found that supporting the company and protecting the company were empirically distinct from organizational commitment and job satisfaction. The composite measure of lack of acceptance of ethically dubious actions correlated positively with equity sensitivity, unacceptability of gaining self-benefits at the expense of the company, and age. It correlated negatively with internal locus of control, social responsibility, and the Protestant work ethic (Mudrack et al., 1999).


Froelich, K. S., & Kottke, J. L. (1991). Measuring individual beliefs about organizational ethics. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 51, 377-383. Copyright© 1991 by Sage Publications, Inc. Items were taken from Table 1, p. 380. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications, Inc.


Responses are obtained using a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly agree and 7 = strongly disagree.

Support for the company items:

  1. It is okay for a supervisor to ask an employee to support someone else’s incorrect viewpoint
  2. It is sometimes necessary for the company to engage in shady practices because the competition is doing so
  3. An employee should overlook someone else’s wrongdoings if it is in the best interest of the company
  4. A supervisor should not care how results are achieved as long as the desired outcome occurs
  5. There is nothing wrong with a supervisor asking an employee to falsify a document
  6. Profits should be given a higher priority than the safety of a product

Protecting the company items:

  1. An employee may need to lie to a co-worker to protect the company
  2. An employee may need to lie to a supervisor/manager to protect the company
  3. An employee may need to lie to another company’s representative to protect the company
  4. An employee may need to lie to a customer/client to protect the company