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Good People Commit Bad Deeds Together: A Factorial Survey on the Moral Antecedents of Situational Deviance in Peer Groups
Deviant Behavior  (IF1.982),  Pub Date : 2021-10-20, DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2021.1990739
Julia Kleinewiese

ABSTRACT

This article empirically tests the theoretical proposition that moral norms of groups can be the reason why “good” people sometimes do “the wrong thing.” The issue is approached from the perspective of Wikström’s Situational Action Theory (SAT). SAT posits that criminal acts are the result of features of the person and the setting. Building on this, the hypotheses forwarded are: The higher the morality of a person and the general moral norms of a setting, the lower the likelihood of committing a deviant action. Moreover, for settings including a group: The higher the moral group norms of the setting, the lower the likelihood of committing a deviant action. These hypotheses are tested by means of a factorial survey (N = 1,679). The results of the analysis using fixed effects restricted maximum likelihood regressions (multilevel models) suggest that moral group norms do, in fact, play a central role in the causation of crime.