Epistemology, Moral Philosophy and Optimism: A Comparative Analysis Between Managers and their Subordinates

Business and Society Review 124 (1):5-42 (2019)
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Abstract

The process of making ethical judgments is much more complex than studying only personal moral philosophy variables (idealism and relativism). The renewed interest in epistemic values (virtue and vice epistemology) in contemporary philosophy has shown significant relevance to understanding ethical behavior and such values may be better predictors than studying only idealism and relativism. The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine employees’ personal moral philosophies, optimism, epistemic values, and various organizational unethical practices as compared to their managers. We used Rawwas’ items of epistemology in this study. The sample consisted of 262 managers and employees. The results revealed that managers were more sensitive to organizational unethical practices, scored less on epistemic vices, less on absolutism, and more on exceptionalism than employees were. However, there was no difference between managers and employees related to moderate and minor unethical organizational practices, situationism, subjectivism, optimism, and epistemic virtues. We provided discussion of the results and implications.

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