Business ethics: A study of the moral reasoning of selected business managers and the influence of organizational ethical climate [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 51 (2):167-173 (2004)
Abstract
Since manager's decisions impact organizational goals and organizational ethical behavior, this researcher investigated the degree to which there are differences in the moral reasoning ability of business managers of selected industries and whether there are significant differences between top, middle, and first-line management levels. To determine the relationship between managers' locus of control and their moral reasoning ability, this study considered three independent variables: reported organizational ethical climate, locus of control, and selected demographic and institutional variables. For a foundation, this researcher relied on Kohlberg's theory of moral development, Victor and Cullen's ethical work climate theory, and Rotter's theory of internal—external locus of control (which evolved from Carl Jung). The short form of Rest's DIT instrument measured the moral reasoning abilities of the participants. The selected demographic and institutional variables (age, work tenure, education, gender, management level and industry category) provided the useful information to investigate these relationships of moral reasoning ability of individual managers. A survey questionnaire was sent to 400 managerial and executive level employees at a random sample of Fortune 500 firms throughout the United States: Dun and Bradstreet provided the researcher with a proportional stratified random sample of these 400 managerial and executive level employees at a variety of organizations. Interestingly, women in this study exhibited slightly higher (more external) mean I—E scores and (more principled) higher mean “P” score than men. While both of these results were anticipated, neither was significant. However, one major finding of this study was the statistically significant relationship between age and perceived organizational ethical climate types (Caring, Law and Code, Rule, Instrument, and Independence). Another major finding revealed a statistically significant relationship between management levels and organizational ethical climate.
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Almerinda Forte (2004). Antecedents of Managers Moral Reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics 51 (4):313-347.
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