Careful what you wish for: the primary role of malicious Envy in Predicting Moral Disengagement

Manuel Rengifo*, Simon M. Laham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Envy has been positively associated with both moral disengagement and organizational unethical decision-making. Nevertheless, extant research suffers from a number of limitations that constrain our ability to define the unique links between different forms of envy and moral disengagement. In two studies (N = 419), using a dual conception of envy, we demonstrate that malicious envy has a consistently stronger and unique relationship to moral disengagement than does benign envy. Additionally, from further analyses we suggest that is the harming motivation of malicious envy, and the collateral damage potentially produced by self-improvement motivation of benign envy, the aspects that would relate both types of envy to moral disengagement. Lastly, we show that moral disengagement consistently accounts for the relationship between malicious envy and unethical decision-making. In sum, these findings open different ways to better understand the link between the envious experience, moral disengagement, and unethical decision-making, taking advantage of envy’s dual conceptualization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-688
Number of pages15
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research did not receive support from any funding agency.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Envy
  • Moral disengagement
  • Unethical decision-making


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