Time Theft

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Time theft, an unethical behavior in the workplace, is far too often overlooked. By utilizing the theory of planned behavior the determinants of time theft can further be understood in order to eliminate further replication of these unethical actions. Positive attitudes, pressures of subjective norms, and perceived behavior control over the action in question are the contributing factors in the decision process that leads to time theft by employees.

POSITIVE EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE TOWARD CONSEQUENCES

An employee is more likely to steal time at work if the consequences are perceived as positive through evaluating outcomes of the action and the strength in their beliefs. If the outcome of stealing time at work is perceived as a positive advantage to the employee, the employee is more likely to engage in the action. For example, if a salaried employee believes he or she can leave work an hour early every day of the week, without their boss finding out, while still being paid for a forty hour work week, then they would view this action as having a positive outcome. The employee has an extra hour to themself every work day, but is still being paid for the unworked time without conflict from their boss. Belief strength is how highly an employee believes an outcome will turn out how they perceived it. In the previous example, if the employee believed strongly that their boss wouldn’t find out they were leaving work an hour early then they would be more likely to go through with the action. Therefore, if an employee views the consequences of their action as positive, they are more likely to commit the act.

PRESSURE OF SUBJECTIVE NORMS TO CARRY THE ACTION

When contemplating the action of stealing time at work, an individual is influenced by subjective norms, also known as social pressures, to perform or refrain from the action. Social pressures that influence or deter the action are based upon the extent to which the behavior is approved of by referent...
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