The effect of perceived meaning of work on unethical behavior
Last registered on January 21, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The effect of perceived meaning of work on unethical behavior
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005330
Initial registration date
January 21, 2020
Last updated
January 21, 2020 1:49 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-01-28
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In a laboratory experiment, we examine how perceived meaning of work affects participants’ unethical behavior at work. All participants work on the same real-effort task. In the first treatment, there is no apparent meaning of the task. In the second treatment, meaning is introduced in form of minimal work recognition. Afterwards, participants self-determine their pay-off in private via die-roll with an opportunity to cheat without consequences or other people knowing. Furthermore, this study looks at the relation between produced output and unethical behavior.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Jaussi, Stefanie. 2020. "The effect of perceived meaning of work on unethical behavior." AEA RCT Registry. January 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5330-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Participants work on a real-effort task with varying levels of meaning by treatment.
Intervention Start Date
2020-01-28
Intervention End Date
2021-04-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Deviation from expected pay-off distribution (1/6 for each dice-roll outcome) by treatment and by quantity produced (output of the real-effort task). Lying behavior is captured at the aggregate level.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Lab experiment. Between-subject design. Participants are randomized at the session level either to the treatment with no meaning or to the treatment with minimal meaning. There are two stages: First, participants work on a real-effort task with varying levels of meaning by treatment. The experimenters capture individual output quantity and quality. Second, participants self-determine their pay-off for the real-effort task through a die-roll. In the end, participants fill out a questionnaire.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer (lab experiment)
Randomization Unit
Experimental session
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
In total about 260 participants.
Sample size: planned number of observations
In total about 260 participants.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
About 130 participants per treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Business Administration, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Bern
IRB Approval Date
2020-01-20
IRB Approval Number
022020