Liu, Z, Liao, H, Liu, Y. For the sake of my family: Understanding unethical pro‐family behavior in the workplace. J Organ Behav. 2020; 1– 25.

Unethical behaviors are prevalent and costly in organizations, and much recent research attention has been paid to different forms of workplace unethical behaviors. We contend that the extant research has overlooked an important form of workplace‐related unethical behaviors: unethical behaviors that are conducted to benefit one’s family but which violate societal and organizational moral rules, a construct we label as “unethical pro‐family behavior” (UPFB). Our paper systematically conceptualizes UPFB and develops a scale for it. Drawing upon social cognitive theory, we argue that employees with stronger family financial pressure are more likely to employ moral disengagement mechanisms to deactivate moral self‐regulation, resulting in higher levels of UPFB. Additionally, we argue that the proposed relationship is more pronounced when employees have high family motivation but is mitigated when employees have high organizational identification. Two studies are conducted for this paper. In Study 1 (= 328 for Sample 1; = 243 for Sample 2; = 279 for Sample 3; = 267 for Sample 4), we demonstrate that our UPFB scale has good construct validity and that our construct is differentiable from relevant constructs. In two time‐lagged survey samples in Study 2 (= 255 for Sample 1; = 233 for Sample 2), we find support for our hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.