Moral but dominant: When do-gooders get derogated

Feng Bai, Wei Wu, Shiyao Bao

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Recent years have seen a renewed interest in understanding interpersonal consequences of doing morally good deeds. Yet, we know little about when doing good leads to resentments and derogation, as opposed to admiration and status conferral, toward do-gooders, and why. This paper aims to address these questions by theorizing the moderating role of do-gooders’ dominance characteristics in breeding a sense of moral self-righteousness, which in turn leads them to get resented and derogated by others. Study 1 found that moral but dominant people were most likely to develop a sense of moral self-righteousness and make harsher judgment on moral violations. Study 2 garnered evidence that a combination of moral and dominance traits led to resentments reported by peers. Finally, Study 3 obtained causal evidence that a moral but dominant actor was perceived to have the highest level of moral self-righteousness, which in turn led perceivers to dislike the dominant do-gooder.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
EditorsGuclu Atinc
PublisherAcademy of Management
ISBN (Electronic)2151-6561
ISBN (Print)0065-0668
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Event79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019


Conference79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, Massachusetts


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