Investigating Factors Affecting the Unethical Pro-organizational Behaviors of Accountants: Social Exchange Theory and Social Cognition Theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Accounting, Jahrom University, Jahrom, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Accounting, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.



Most organizations witness the occurrence of unethical behaviors; But often a certain form of unethical behavior is neglected. This type of unethical behavior, that is done with the purpose of helping and benefiting the organization and its members, is known as unethical pro-organizational behaviors. The purpose of this research is to investigate the factors affecting unethical pro-organizational behaviors by accountants. In this research, social exchange theory has been used to explain the pro-organizational aspect of these types of behaviors and social cognition theory has been used to explain their unethical aspect. The statistical population of this research is made up of chief financial officers and accountants of manufacturing companies listed on The Tehran Stock Exchange. The required data was collected through standard questionnaires from 181 chief financial officers and accountants in 2023 and structural equation modeling was used for data analysis. The results indicate that the construct of perceived organizational justice has a positive and significant effect on the constructs of positive social exchange and organizational identity. In addition, positive social exchange and organizational identity constructs have positive and significant effects on unethical pro-organizational behaviors, although, no evidence of the moderating effects of positive reciprocity beliefs and moral identity constructs was found in the relationship between positive social exchange and organizational identity with the unethical pro-organizational behaviors. The results of this research show that the simultaneous use of social exchange theory and social cognition theory can provide a suitable framework for explaining the unethical pro-organizational behaviors of accountants


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 10 March 2024
  • Receive Date: 03 January 2024
  • Revise Date: 27 February 2024
  • Accept Date: 10 March 2024