Research has been inconsistent in its quest to discover whether creative personality encourages or inhibits unethical behavior.
Drawing on social cognitive theory, we propose that moral disengagement and moral imagination are two parallel mechanisms that encourage or inhibit unethical behaviors, and that moral identity functions as a boundary condition of these dual mediation processes.
In Study 1, a three-wave study of food processing company employees, we found that when individuals are high on both creative personality and moral identity, they are less likely to be morally disengaged and to behave unethically.
In Study 2, we replicated the results of Study 1 in a scenario-based study of college students and further showed that when individuals were high on both creative personality and moral identity, they were more likely to be morally imaginative and behave less unethically.
The theoretical implications of our model are discussed.