Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 727–742 | Cite as

How Implicit Ethics Institutionalization Affects Ethical Selling Intention: The Case of Taiwan’s Life Insurance Salespeople

  • Lu-Ming TsengEmail author
Original Paper


This study examines the mediating role of felt accountability and cost–benefit consideration in the relationship between implicit ethics institutionalization and ethical selling intention. The research hypotheses are developed and tested with data collected using a scenario‐based questionnaire. The research design proposes two types of ethical dilemmas. In the first dilemma, the insurance salespeople are told that the dishonest selling behavior will lead to a profitable outcome. In the second dilemma, the insurance salespeople are informed that the honest selling behavior will lead to an unprofitable outcome. The findings show that implicit ethics institutionalization is positively related to felt accountability, cost–benefit consideration and ethical selling intention, while felt accountability and cost–benefit consideration could partially mediate the relationship between implicit ethics institutionalization and the insurance salespeople’s ethical selling intention. The study highlights the importance of implicit ethics institutionalization in sales ethics and helps researchers and practitioners to better understand the mediators of felt accountability and cost–benefit consideration through which implicit ethics institutionalization benefits ethical selling intention.


Implicit ethics institutionalization Felt accountability Cost–benefit consideration Ethical selling intention Financial ethics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Statements

This research was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST 106-2410-H-035-026), Taiwan. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Risk Management and InsuranceFeng Chia UniversityTaichungTaiwan, ROC

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