The Corporate Samaritan: Advancing Understanding of the Role of Deontic Motive in Justice Enactment

Julia Zwank, Marjo-Riitta Diehl*, Mario Gollwitzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Although the literature on organizational justice enactment is becoming richer, our understanding of the role of the deontic justice motive remains limited. In this article, we review and discuss theoretical approaches to and evidence of the deontic justice motive and deontic justice enactment. While the prevalent understanding of deontic justice enactment focuses on compliance, we argue that this conceptualization is insufficient to explain behaviors that go beyond the call of duty. We thus consider two further forms of deontic behavior: humanistic and supererogatory behavior. Drawing on the concepts of situation strength and person strength, we further argue that the reduced variance in behavior across morally challenging situations makes deontic justice enactment visible. We thus observe deontic justice enactment when an actor’s deontic justice motive collides with strong situational cues or constraints that guide the actor to behave differently. We formulate propositions and develop a theoretical model that links the deontic justice motive to moral maturation and deontic justice enactment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-623
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date13 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Deontic justice enactment
  • Deontic motive
  • Moral maturation
  • Organizational justice enactment
  • Person strength
  • Situation strength
  • Supererogation


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