Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

Social Class (Status) affects Ethical Behavior.

Social class defined as peoples relative stand in society according to wealth and/
or education. It is a central construct in social science (Weber, Gerth & Wright, 1958) and
economics (Schumpeter, 1951), with interest scatter across disciplines from psychology
(Kraus, Piff, Mendoza-Denton, Rheinschmidt & Keltner, 2012) to epidemiology
(Marmot, 2004). Piff et al. (2012) define social class as an individuals rank vis-a`-vis
others in society in terms of wealth, occupational prestige, and education and
characterize upper class individuals as having abundant resources and elevated societal
rank (p. 4086). The primary bases of hierarchical rank: power and status are sourced
from social class. Power as a dissymmetric controls that over materials in social
relationship; Status is respect and admiration in others eyes (Magee & Galinsky, 2008).
Social class had been conceptualized through both structural and processual
approaches whereby the former elucidate class as a matrix of fixed categories that
individuals move down or up continuum but the later illuminate class as group identities
shaped by common, shared experiences (Wright & Shin, 1988). Structural approaches of
class analysis use to evaluate social class through socioeconomic status indicator such as
income, occupation or education. Weber (1947) classified class as working class, lowermiddle class, intelligentsia and upper class. Warner (1949) established a class model that
categorized into upper, middle and lower with subdivisions of upper-upper class, lowerupper class, upper-middle class, lower-middle class, upper-lower class and lower-lower
class in each component.
Upper or lower classes are ethical likely to fail due to different classes in the
moral value and understanding of ethical, the pattern of social interaction and the costs
and benefits to take various action. Bourdieus masterly work on differences in taste
substantiate that social classes impart aesthetic preferences to children. As a consequence,
tastes in food, literature, modes of entertainment and language are presumably to be
tightly bound to income and education. To judge various mode of behavior, decide what
is appropriate and what is not are convey by parents and peers (Fraley et al., 2012; Kelley
and De Graaf, 1997).

Ethical standard and behaviors influenced by social class. Ethical behavior

showed to be affected by moral values, social orientation and the costs and benefits of
taking various actions. Strong class differences materialize in each of these area and lead
to different behavior. The character of Raphael Hythlodaeus in Thomas Mores Utopia
(1516) identifies that money and private property as the reason of social dysfunction.
Platos Republic (1984) said that privately held property may be eliminated to restrain the
characteristic of upper class individuals: greed and propensity for unethical. Nevertheless,
low status individuals acquired equally unethical delineation. Lower class individual have
slightly economic resources (Drentea, 2000; Oakes & Rossi, 2003), lack of educational
opportunities (Snibbe & Markus, 2005), restricted retrieve to social institution such as
elite schools, universities and social clubs and engage a subordinate rank in society
(Adler, Epel, Castellazzo & Ickovics, 2000) that compare with upper class individual.
They face greater stress in the close relationship (Gallo, Bogart, Vranceanu & Matthews,
2005) and violence at home (Staggs, Long, Mason, Krishnan, & Riger, 2007). Karl Marx
and Friedrich Engels referred to the poor in the Communist Manifesto (1848) as the
social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old
society, and noted their tendency to engage in criminal activities.
Dubois, Rucker and Galinsky (2015) posit that higher social class, by having
greater resources in the form of greater income (Kraus et al., 2012) increase peoples
powerfulness psychological feelings. Upper class individual feel more powerful than
lower class individuals (Dubois, Rucker & Galinsky, 2015). Social class has been
estimated through income and education level (Anderson, Kraus, Galinsky & Keltner,
2012a), to the territory that differences in unethical behavior are eventually driven by
lurking differences in power, which control over resources (Galinsky, Rucker, & Magee,
2015; Magee & Galinsky, 2008). Incomes predict unethical behavior more strongly than
education (Dubois, Rucker & Galinsky, 2015). Social class and power produce similar
effect. High power and upper class precipitate similar neuroendocrine changes at the
hormonal level (Carney, Cuddy & Yap, 2010; Carney et al., 2014; Marmot, 2004;
Sapolsky, 1998, 2001). States of low, proportionate to high, power have also been related
with greater spending on others (Rucker et al., 2011), similar to the impact of social class
(Piff, Kraus, Ct, Cheng, & Keltner, 2010). As with social class, there is a relationship

between power and unethical behavior. People in high power state, like upper class
members were more probable to lie about a dice roll (Lammers, Stapel, & Galinsky,
2010; Experiment 1). Furthermore, power has been associated with lying (Boles, Croson,
& Murnighan, 2000), which is more easily (Carney et al., 2014).
Merging evidence indicate that class differences in social cognition. Upper class
individuals reveal more dispositional attributions, less empathic accuracy, more self
focused and less engagement in social interaction (Grossman & Varnum, 2011; Kraus,
Cote, & Keltner, 2010; Kraus & Keltner, 2009; Kraus, Piff, & Keltner, 2011; Lammers,
Galinsky, Gordijn, & Otten, 2012). Piff et al. (2012) surmised that upper class individuals
are unethical behavior may be driven by more positive attitudes toward greed and
economic or business oriented training may proxy for the attitudes. There is a positive
relationship between social class and unethical behavior. Higher class individuals
occupied in greater unethical behavior. Piff et al. (2012) found that this was mediated by
most favorable attitude toward greed. Greed, alternately, is a pragmatic determinant of
unethical behavior. Aristotle and Plato reckoned greed to be at the root of personal
immorality and drives yearn for materials gain at the expense of ethical standard. It
induces to reduce concern for how behavior affects others and motivate greater unethical
action (Piffa, Stancatoa, Ctb , Mendoza-Dentona & Dacher Keltnera, 2012).
Ethical behavior and class status is a multi faceted structure. High socioeconomic
status individuals act more unethically than low status individuals, across a wide range of
circumstance and a wide of range of status measure. Piff, Kraus, Cote, Cheng, and
Keltner (2010) proposed that upper class individuals are less social and helpful. Piff,
Stancato, Cote, Mendoza-Denton and Keltner (2012) posited that upper class individuals
are more likely in cheating, lying, take goods from others to foster own materials
outcome and to drive ruthlessly.
The status gauge income defined by the median split of net income of the panel
participants. Financial Wealth designate by calculating the presence of asset in four
categories: real estate investments, long term and life insurance, risky investment and
savings. This count ranges from 0 to 4, and status is broken at the median split, with 0
and 1 indicating low status, and 2, 3, and 4 indicating high status. To measure

occupational reputation, high status job type showed by academic or professional job and
low status by commercial, mental and manual work with skilled or unskilled in currently
job. Permanent employment contract shows high status employment permanence by self
employment, by being an independent professional or by hold directorship in own
company. Temporary contract means low status in employment permanence
(Trautmanna , Kuilenb & Zeckhauserc, 2013).
Status have the dimensions of social power relating to responsibility and relating
to self interest and independence (Galinsky, Gruenfeld, & Magee, 2003; Lammers,
Stoker, & Stapel, 2009). Highly educated people got different views and behaviors with
wealthy people. Both of the groups are often antagonistic toward each others value
system (Inbar & Lammers, 2012).

Social Class from Sociological Approach.

Classes cannot defined by beginning observation and analysis from individuals and
building a definition of a social class as aggregate of individuals with particular
characteristic (Karl Marx, n.d).
Marx's (n.d) class theory rests on the premise that "the history of all hitherto existing
society is the history of class struggles." The root of human affliction lay in class conflict,
the exploitation of workers by those who own the means of production. There are two
classes of people in society, said Marx: the bourgeoisie (capitalists) means those who
own the means of production while proletariat (workers), who work for owners. In sum,
people determine their social class through the relationship to the means of production.
Social change, in the form of subversion of capitalists by the workers (proletariat), was
inescapable from Marxs perspective. He penetrates into the relationship of social classes,
mainly the classes contend between haves and have-nots. He launch a major perspective
in sociology, conflict theory toward social class that influence ethic. Power and social
inequality are the main characteristic of conflict theory. It emphasizes that power elite
runs society and controls the criminal justice system. The group of people is protected
passed by law. The theory stresses that social class separate children into different world.
They born to wealthy parents and learn skill and value from school to match their higher
position. School around the world reflect and reinforce their nations social class,
economic and political system. Lewis Coser (1913-2003), a sociologist stresses that
conflict able to develop among people who are under close relationship. These people
have out worked out ways to disseminate responsibilities and privileges, power and
reward. The changes in those arrangement lead to hurt feeling, bitterness and conflict.
Even in a closer relationship, then, people are in a constant balancing act, with conflict
lying uneasily just beneath the surface.

Adler, N. E., Epel, E. S., Castellazzo, G., & Ickovics, J. R. (2000). Relationship of
subjective and objective social status with psychological and physiological
functioning: Preliminary data in healthy white women. Health Psychology, 19, 586
592. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0278- 6133.19.6.586
Anderson, C., Kraus, M. W., Galinsky, A. D., & Keltner, D. (2012a). The local-ladder
effect: Social status and subjective well-being. Psychological Science, 23, 764
771. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/09567976 11434537
Boles, T. L., Croson, R. T. A., & Murnighan, J. K. (2000). Deception and retribution in
repeated ultimatum bargaining. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
Processes, 83, 235259. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ obhd.2000.2908
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Cambridge:
Haravard University Press.
Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing: Brief nonverbal
displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science, 21,
13631368. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/ 0956797610383437
Carney, D. R., Yap, A. J., Lucas, B. J., Mehta, P. H., McGee, J., & Wilmuth, C. (2014).
Power buffers stressFor better and for worse. Manuscript under review.
Drentea, P. (2000). Age, debt, and anxiety. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 41,
437 450. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2676296
Dubis, D., Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2015, January 26). Social Class, Power, and
Selfishness: When and Why Upper and Lower Class Individuals Behave
Unethically. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online
publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000008
Fraley, R. C., Griffin, B. N., & Roisman, G. I. (2012). Developmental Antecedents of
Political Ideology: A Longitudinal Investigation From Birth to Age 18 Years.
Psychological Science, 23, 14251431.
Galinsky, A. D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Magee, J. C. (2003). From Power to Action. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 453466.
Galinsky, A. D., Rucker, D. D., & Magee, J. C. (2015). Power: Past findings, present
considerations, and future directions. APA handbook of personality and social

psychology: Vol. 1. Attitudes and social cognition. Washington, DC: American

Psychological Association.
Gallo, L. C., Bogart, L. M., Vranceanu, A. M., & Matthews, K. A. (2005). Socioeconomic
status, resources, psychological experiences, and emotional responses: A test of the
reserve capacity model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 386
399. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1037/0022-3514.88.2.386
Gruenfeld, D. H., Inesi, M. E., Magee, J. C., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Power and the
objectification of social targets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95,
111127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022- 3514.95.1.111
Gruenfeld, D. H., Inesi, M. E., Magee, J. C., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Power and the
objectification of social targets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95,
111127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022- 3514.95.1.111
Inbar, Y., & Lammers, J. (2012). Political Diversity in Social and Personality Psychology.
Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 496503.
Kelley, J., and De Graaf, N. D. (1997). National Context, Parental Socialization, and
Religious Belief: Results from 15 Nations. American Sociological Review, 62, 639
Lammers, J., Stapel, D. A., & Galinsky, A. D. (2010). Power increases hypocrisy:
Moralizing in reasoning, immorality in behavior. Psychological Science, 21, 737
744. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797610368810
Lammers, J., Stoker, J. I., & Stapel, D. (2009). Differentiating Social and Personal Power.
Psychological Science, 20, 15431549.
Marmot, M. G. (2004). The status syndrome: How social standing affects our health and
longevity. New York, NY: Times Books.
Marmot, M. G. (2004). The status syndrome: How social standing affects our health and
longevity. New York, NY: Times Books.
Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1969). Selected Works, Vol. 1. Moscow: Progress Publishers,
Moscow, 98137.
More, T. (1909). Utopia. The Harvard Classics, Volume 36, Part 3. New York: P.F. Collier
& Son.

Oakes, J. M., & Rossi, P. H. (2003). The measurement of SES in health research: Current
practice and steps toward a new approach. Social Science & Medicine, 56, 769
784. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277- 9536(02)00073-4
Piff, P. K., Kraus, M. W., Cote, S., Cheng, B. H., & Keltner, D. (2010). Having Less,
Giving More: The Influence of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 771784.
Piff, P. K., Stancato, D. M., Ct, S., Mendoza-Denton, R., & Keltner, D. (2012). Higher
social class predicts increased unethical behavior. PNAS Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109, 4086 4091.
Plato (translated by R.E. Allen) (2006). The Republic. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Rucker, D. D., Dubois, D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2011). Generous paupers and stingy
princes: Power drives consumer spending on self versus others. Journal of
Consumer Research, 37, 10151029. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1086/657162
Schumpeter, J. A. (1951). Imperialism and social classes. New York, NY: A. M. Kelly.
Snibbe, A. C., & Markus, H. R. (2005). You cant always get what you want: Educational
attainment, agency, and choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88,
703720. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022- 3514.88.4.703
Staggs, S. L., Long, S. M., Mason, G. E., Krishnan, S., & Riger, S. (2007). Intimate
partner violence, social support, and employment in the postwelfare reform era.






Warner, W. L., Meeker, M., & Eells, K. (1949). Social class in America: A manual of
procedure for the measurement of social status. Chicago: Science Research
Associates, Inc.
Weber, M. (1947). The theory of social and economic organization (T. Parsons, Trans.).
New York: Oxford University Press.
Weber, M., Gerth, H. H., & Wright, M. C. (1958). From Max Weber: Essays in sociology.
New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Wright, E. O. & Shin, K. Y. (1988). Temporality and class analysis. Sociological theory,
6, 5884.