An Experiential Exercise that Introduces the Concept of the Personal Ethical Threshold to Develop Moral Courage

This paper presents an experiential exercise introducing the concept of the personal ethical threshold (PET) to help explain why moral behavior does not always follow moral intention. An individual’s PET represents the individual’s vulnerability to situational factors, i.e., how little or much it takes for members of organizations to cross their proverbial line to act in a way they deem unethical. The PET reflects the interplay among the situation, the particular ethical issue, and the individual. Exploring the PET can help account for why some people are sometimes able to withstand substantial organizational pressures to behave in congruence with their ethical intentions, whereas others crumble in the face of apparently minimal situational forces. We hope that students’ exposure to and subsequent reflection upon their PET, by means of the exercise we present, will foster the development of their moral courage.
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DOI 10.5840/jbee20052213
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