Is risk-taking propensity associated with unethical behaviors? An experimental study

Zhi Xing Xu, Yue Wang, Min Zhu*, Hing Keung Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Are risk-takers more likely to engage in unethical behaviors? We examined the relationship between risk-taking propensity and cheating in two experimental studies. In Study 1, we examined the relationship between subjects’ risk-taking propensity and their actual self-serving dishonesty using a gambling-like task. The results suggested that risk-taking propensity, measured using a behavioral approach, was positively correlated with actual self-serving dishonest behavior. In Study 2, we measured participants’ performances using a matrices test and found that the positive correlation still held. We found that participants with high risk-taking propensity reported a lower perceived probability of being detected, which might drive their dishonest behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-571
Number of pages15
JournalEthics and Behavior
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • behavioral task
  • dishonest behavior
  • experimental study
  • risk-taking propensity


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