The relationship between unethical behavior and the dimensions of the ethical climate questionnaire


This study examined the relationship between unethical employee behavior and the dimensions of the Ethical Climate Questionnaire (ECQ). In order to explore the relationship between the dimensions of the ECQ and unethical behavior, the factor structure of five previously identified empirical models and the hypothesized nine-dimension model for the ECQ was tested with a confirmatory factor analysis. The analysis revealed that the hypothesized nine-dimension model provided as good or even better fit to the data than the five empirically derived models. Therefore, the nine-dimensional model was used to examine the criterion-related validity of the ECQ. The results demonstrated that the nine ethical climate dimensions were correlated with some of the unethical behaviors examined in this study, but not others. However, the results clearly demonstrated that most of the ethical climate dimensions were significantly related to an aggregate measure of unethical behavior. It was suggested that these results might account for the differences in previous studies on the criterion-related validity of the ECQ. The results also replicated a previous report that the association between unethical behavior and ethical climate is stronger in organizations that do not have a code of ethics. Finally, a difference was observed in the ethical climates for organizations with a code of ethics and organizations without a code of ethics.


Information Technology and Cybersecurity

Document Type





Codes of ethics, Confirmatory factor analysis, Criterion validity, Ethical Climate Questionnaire, Principle of Aggregation

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Business Ethics