A Rational Choice

Donald Palmer

in Normal Organizational Wrongdoing

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199573592
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738715 | DOI:
A Rational Choice

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This chapter presents the rational choice explanation of organizational wrongdoing. This explanation is the first dominant account of wrongdoing considered in the book. It is rooted in a theoretical perspective that views organizations as nexuses of contracts linking multiple stakeholders, and views organizational participants as cost/benefit calculators. The chapter describes the basic rational choice explanation of wrongdoing and presents the two most influential rational choice theories: agency and strain theory. It then develops an overarching rational choice framework based on the expectancy theory of motivation. It considers the conditions that give rise to rational-choice inspired wrongdoing and details the policy prescriptions intended to eradicate those conditions. It also discusses recent work in cognitive psychology that suggests how rational choice can go wrong, leading people to embark on wrongdoing when it runs counter to their interests. The chapter concludes with an overall assessment of the rational choice account.

Keywords: organizational wrongdoing; rational choice; agency theory; strain theory; expectancy theory; cognitive psychology

Chapter.  10220 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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