Do status incentives undermine morality-based status attainment? Investigating the mediating role of perceived authenticity

Feng Bai, Grace Ching Chi Ho, Wu Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


We propose that status incentives weaken the relationship between moral behaviors and status conferral by undermining perceptions of authenticity. Across two experiments among diverse samples of participants, evidence indicates that observers question the authenticity of moral actors who are pursuing status incentives. Perceptions of authenticity mediate the interaction of moral behaviors and status incentives on status conferral. A third two-wave online survey replicates the experimental findings and reveals that observers’ moral identity further strengthens the interaction of moral behaviors and status incentives in shaping perceptions of authenticity and subsequent status conferral.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Authenticity
  • Moral identity
  • Status attainment
  • Status incentives
  • Virtue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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