The research described here contributes to the extant empirical research on business ethics education by examining outcomes drawn from the literature on positive organizational scholarship (POS). The general research question explored is whether a course on ethical decision-making in business could positively influence students’ confidence in their abilities to handle ethical problems at work (i.e., moral efficacy), boost the relative importance of ethics in their work lives (i.e., moral meaningfulness), and encourage them to be more courageous in raising ethical problems (...) at work even if it is unpopular (i.e., moral courage). Specifically, the study used a rigorous quasi-experimental pretest–posttest research design with a treatment (N = 30) and control group (N = 30) to investigate whether a graduate-level course in business ethics could influence students’ levels of moral efficacy, meaningfulness, and courage. Findings revealed that participants in the business ethics treatment course experienced significant positive increases in each of the three outcome variables as compared to the control group. The largest increase was in moral efficacy, followed by moral courage, and finally, moral meaningfulness. These findings are discussed in the context of the current research on business ethics education and POS. Implications for future research are discussed. (shrink)
The goals of this research were to (1) explore the direct effects of and interactions between magnitude of consequences and various types of proximity - social, psychological, and physical - on the ethical decision-making process and (2) investigate the influence of empathy on the ethical decision-making process. A carpal tunnel syndrome vignette and questionnaire were administered to a sample of human resource management professionals to test the hypothesized relationships. Significant relationships were found for the main effects between magnitude of consequences (...) and principle-based evaluation, cognitive empathy and principle-based evaluation, and empathy and moral intention. Physical proximity moderated the relationships between magnitude of consequences and utilitarian evaluation as well as magnitude of consequences and moral intention. Cognitive empathy moderated the relationships between magnitude of consequences and principle-based evaluation and physical proximity and utilitarian evaluation. Affective empathy marginally moderated the relationship between physical proximity and principle-based evaluation. Future research directions, management implications, and strengths and weaknesses of the research are discussed. (shrink)
Ethical conduct is the hallmark of excellence in engineering and scientific research, design, and practice. While undergraduate and graduate programs in these areas routinely emphasize ethical conduct, few receive formal ethics training as part of their curricula. The first purpose of this research study was to assess the relative effectiveness of ethics education in enhancing individuals’ general knowledge of the responsible conduct of research practices and their level of moral reasoning. Secondly, we examined the effects of ethics education on the (...) positive psychological outcomes of perspective-taking, moral efficacy, moral courage, and moral meaningfulness. To examine our research hypotheses, we utilized a pretest–posttest quasi-experimental design consisting of three ethics education groups (control, embedded modules, and stand-alone courses). Findings revealed that both embedded and stand alone courses were effective in enhancing participants’ perspective-taking, moral efficacy, and moral courage. Moral meaningfulness was marginally enhanced for the embedded module condition. Moral judgment and knowledge of responsible conduct of research practices were not influenced by either ethics education condition. Contrary to expectations, stand alone courses were not superior to embedded modules in influencing the positive psychological outcomes investigated. Implications of these findings for future research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
This research explored how (a) information regarding consequences and (b) personal information regarding the potential victim influences perceptions of moral intensity and ethical behavioral intent. An experimental vignette research design was used and 314 professional managers participated. The results of the study indicated that personal information impacted ethical behavioral intent through its influence on perceptions of proximity. In contrast, consequential information''s impact depended on the presence of personal information or prior knowledge. Implications for management and future ethical research are discussed.
AbstractOrganizations receive multiple benefits when their members act ethically. Of interest in this study is if the actors receive benefits as well, especially as individuals look to work to fulfill psychological and social needs in addition to economic ones. Specifically, we highlight a series of ongoing ethical practices embodied in professional moral courage and their relationship to actor’s work meaningfulness and life well-being. Drawing on self-determination theory and affective events theory, we explore how exercising professional moral courage in one’s work (...) leads to positive work and life outcomes. Data from 106 administrative staff of non-profit organizations demonstrates the positive benefits of adopting ethical practices at work. Specifically, professional moral courage is found to be significantly related to both work meaningfulness and individual eudaimonic life well-being. Our findings note positive benefits for individuals who incorporate professional moral courage into their daily lives and provide support for organizations seeking to encourage it from their employees; benefits for organizations and employees go beyond just the gains from ethical behavior into other positive psychological processes. Implications for future work that considers both the psychological and normative approaches to meaningful work are discussed. (shrink)
This research on the ethics of meaningful work examined how types of job-related harm and their magnitude of consequences influenced components of ethical decision-making. The research also investigated the moderating effects of individual differences on the relation between the MOC and the ethical decision-making elements for each type of harm. Using a sample of 185 Chinese professionals, a between-subjects, fully crossed experimental scenario design revealed that physical and economic job-related harm were recognized as moral issues to a greater extent than (...) cognitive or emotional harm. Second, physical job-related harm stimulated a higher level of moral evaluations than economic and cognitive harm. Third, individuals intended to act ethically when MOC was high versus low. Finally, experience with layoffs and IMO helped explain the relations between MOC and moral evaluations for economic and cognitive job-related harm, respectively. Implications for research and management are discussed. (shrink)
The protection of employee rights in the workplace is one of the fundamental ethical questions facing organizations today. Organizations differ in the extent to which they protect the rights of both employees and themselves as employers, yet little research has examined the types of organizations that have rights protection policies. Instead of the classic normative approach to ethical issues, this study took a contextual approach to the management of rights in the workplace through human resource policies. Associations were found between (...) the organizational characteristics of size, industry, unionization, business condition, and the existence of employee and employer rights policies. Additional analyses revealed underlying dimensions in right policies and the relationship of organizational characteristics to these aspects of rights management were examined. The results are discussed in terms of understanding human resource rights management within an organizational context. (shrink)
Off-shoring is a business decision increasingly being considered as a strategic option to effect expected cost savings. This exploratory study focuses on the moral recognition of off-shoring using ethical decision making embedded within affective events theory. Perceived magnitude of consequences and time pressure are hypothesized as affective event characteristics that lead to decision makers’ empathy responses. Subsequently, cognitive and affective empathy influence the decision makers’ moral recognition. Decision makers’ prior knowledge of off-shoring was also predicted to interact with perceptions of (...) the affective event characteristics to influence cognitive and affective empathy. Findings from a limited sample of human resource management professionals suggest that perceptions of magnitude of consequences and cognitive empathy directly relate to moral recognition and that affective empathy partially mediates the relationship between perceptions of the magnitude of consequences and moral recognition. The three-way interaction of the perceptions of magnitude of consequences, time pressure, and prior knowledge of off-shoring was marginally related to cognitive empathy. Interpretations of the findings, validity issues, limitations, future research directions, and management implications are provided. (shrink)