Ethics versus success? The acceptance of unethical leadership in the 2016 US Presidential elections

Catarina Morais*, Dominic Abrams, Georgina Randsley de Moura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Before and after the 2016 US Presidential Election, this research examined Trump and Clinton supporters’ attributions about behavior of each leader, both of whose ethicality had been publicly questioned. American voters (N = 268) attributed significantly more dispositional factors to the outgroup leader than to the ingroup leader. Moreover, when the ingroup candidate won the election (i.e., among Trump supporters), unethical leadership subsequently became more acceptable and there was less desire to tighten the election process when dealing with unethical candidates. The opposite pattern was found among voters whose ingroup candidate lost the election (Clinton supporters). The results and implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3089
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Causal attribution
  • Election
  • Group processes
  • Leadership
  • Unethical

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