An investigation of the components of moral intensity

Journal of Business Ethics 16 (5):521-529 (1997)
Abstract
While there is considerable interest in the topic of business ethics, much of the research moves towards measuring components with a view to predicting ethical behaviour. To date there has not been a satisfactory definition of business ethics, nor has there been any real attempt to understand the components of a situation that may influence an individual's assessment of that situation as ethical or otherwise. Using Jones's (1991) construct of moral intensity as a basis for investigation, this paper presents some exploratory analysis on the context within which ethical decisions are assessed. The findings reveal that individuals differ in their assessments of the same situation and often use a number of complex reasons to explain whether a situation poses an ethical problem for them. These findings are discussed within a framework of measurement issues and future directions for research.
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