Breaking the rules: Examining the facilitation effects of moral intensity characteristics on the recognition of rule violations [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 78 (1-2):275 - 289 (2008)
This research project seeks to discover whether certain characteristics of a moral issue facilitate individuals’ abilities to detect violators of a conditional rule. In business, conditional rules are often framed in terms of a social contract between employer and employee. Of significant concern to business ethicists is the fact that these social contracts are frequently breached. Some researchers in the field of evolutionary psychology argue that there is a biological basis to social contract formation and dissolution in business. However, although it is inescapable that biological forces shaped a fixed neural structure that guides and limits humans’ abilities, we argue that characteristics of the situation in which the person finds himself or herself moderate the activation of these neural circuits in ordinary business social contract situations. Specifically, the moral intensity associated with the social contract conditional rule is likely to influence peoples’ abilities to detect violators of the rule. This study utilizes adapted versions of the Wason selection task and manipulates the issue-contingent moral intensity characteristics of magnitude of consequences, proximity, and social consensus to assess if moral intensity facilitates detection of rule violators. Results from this empirical study indicate no relationship between moral intensity characteristics and issue recognition but do provide insights into the evolutionary psychology approach.
|Keywords||moral intensity ethical decision-making issue recognition social contracts evolutionary psychology|
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References found in this work BETA
Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides & John Tooby (eds.) (1992). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press.
Audrey Chia & Lim Swee Mee (2000). The Effects of Issue Characteristics on the Recognition of Moral Issues. Journal of Business Ethics 27 (3):255 - 269.
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Leda Cosmides (1989). The Logic of Social Exchange: Has Natural Selection Shaped How Humans Reason? Studies with the Wason Selection Task. Cognition 31 (3):187-276.
Mark A. Davis, Nancy Brown Johnson & Douglas G. Ohmer (1998). Issue-Contingent Effects on Ethical Decision Making: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 17 (4):373-389.
Citations of this work BETA
Kanika T. Bhal & Anubha Dadhich (2011). Impact of Ethical Leadership and Leader–Member Exchange on Whistle Blowing: The Moderating Impact of the Moral Intensity of the Issue. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 103 (3):485-496.
Jeffrey A. Roberts & David M. Wasieleski (2012). Moral Reasoning in Computer-Based Task Environments: Exploring the Interplay Between Cognitive and Technological Factors on Individuals' Propensity to Break Rules. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 110 (3):355-376.
Chris M. Bell & Kelley J. Main (2011). Deonance and Distrust: Motivated Third Party Information Seeking Following Disclosure of an Agent's Unethical Behavior. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 102 (1):77-96.
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