Actual and perceived sharing of ethical reasoning and moral intent among in-group and out-group members

Journal of Business Ethics 33 (4):299 - 322 (2001)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Despite an extensive amount of research studying the influence of significant others on an individual's ethical behavior, researchers have not examined this variable in the context of organizational group boundaries. This study tests actual and perceptual sharing and variation in ethical reasoning and moral intent within and across functional groups in an organization. Integrating theory on ethical behavior, group dynamics, and culture, it is proposed that organizational structure affects cognitive structure. Departmental boundaries create stronger social ties within the group as well as intergroup biases between the groups. Thus individuals will be more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent with members of their own functional group (in-group) than with members of other functional groups (out-group). Additionally, they will perceive that they are more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent with in-group members than with out-group members. Responding to two versions of two ethical scenarios, respondents contrasted their own ethical behavior to their expected ethical behavior of in-group and out-group members. Empirical results confirmed the hypotheses. Organizational group boundaries create actual as well as perceptual sharing and variation in ethical reasoning and moral intent. Furthermore, when comparing perceptual sharing to actual sharing, results show that individuals understate their sharing of ethical reasoning and moral intent with out-group members and overstate their sharing with in-group members. As organizational boundaries can create actual and perceived differences between groups that could lead to inter-group conflict, suggestions for management focus on removing or blurring inter-group boundaries.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 79,702

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Group wrongs and guilt feelings.Margaret Gilbert - 1997 - The Journal of Ethics 1 (1):65-84.
Group Agency and Supervenience.Philip Pettit - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (S1):85-105.
Group beliefs.Raimo Tuomela - 1992 - Synthese 91 (3):285-318.
‘What if value and rights lie foundationally in groups?’ The Maori Case.Andrew Sharp - 1999 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 2 (2):1-28.
Are Cultural Group Rights against Individual Rights?Erol Kuyurtar - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:51-59.


Added to PP

31 (#391,579)

6 months
2 (#320,051)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?