We examine when and why creative role identity causes entitlement and unethical behaviors, and how this relationship might be reduced. We found that the relationships among creative identity, entitlement, and dishonesty are contingent on the perception of creativity being rare. Four experiments showed that individuals with a creative identity reported higher psychological entitlement and engaged in more unethical behaviors. Additionally, when participants believed that their creativity was rare rather than common, they were more likely to lie for money. Moreover, manipulation of the rarity of creative identity, but not of practical identity, increased psychological entitlement and unethical acts. We tested for the mediating effect of psychological entitlement on dishonesty using both measurement of mediation and experimental causal chain approaches. We further provide evidence from organizations. Responses from a sample of supervisor-subordinate dyads demonstrated that employees reporting strong creative identities who perceived creativity as rare in their work group, rather than common, were rated as engaging in more unethical behaviors by their supervisors. This paper extends prior theory on negative moral consequences of creativity by shedding new light on assumptions regarding the prevalence of creativity and the role psychological entitlement plays.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation