Effects of the Use of the Availability Heuristic on Ethical Decision-Making in Organizations

Journal of Business Ethics 84 (1):151 - 165 (2009)
Abstract
Recent corporate scandals across various industries have led to an increased focus on research in business ethics, particularly on understanding ethical decision-making. This increased interest is due largely to managers' desire to reduce the incidence of unwanted behaviors in the workplace. This article examines one major moderator of the ethical decision-making process - moral intensity. In particular, we explore the potential influence of a particular cognitive heuristic - the availability heuristic -on perceptions of moral intensity. It is our contention that moral intensity is a perceptual construct, and that individuals' use of the availability heuristic will influence perceptions of moral intensity which, in turn, will affect how moral issues are viewed and ultimately resolved. In this article, we present propositions concerning possible relationships between the availabilities of various phenomena and the components that moral intensity comprises, and report on two studies examining the effects of availabilities on two of these components: magnitude of consequences and social consensus. Our findings indicated that the availability of consequences associated with an act was positively related to perceptions of the magnitude of consequences of that act. We also found that the availability of others who believe that a particular act is morally acceptable is positively related to perceptions of social consensus that that act is morally acceptable. We posit that our results suggest the possibility that perceptions of moral intensity can be actively influenced to reduce unethical behavior in organizations
Keywords moral intensity  ethical decision-making  issue recognition  availability heuristic  cognitive bias
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,404
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 14 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

15 ( #109,932 of 1,102,972 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #120,763 of 1,102,972 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.