The field of behavioral ethics has seen considerable growth over the last few decades. One of the most significant concerns facing this interdisciplinary field of research is the moral judgment-action gap. The moral judgment-action gap is the inconsistency people display when they know what is right but do what they know is wrong. Much of the research in the field of behavioral ethics is based on early work in moral psychology and American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s foundational cognitive model of moral (...) development. However, Kohlberg’s model of moral development lacks a compelling explanation for the judgment-action gap. Yet, it continues to influence theory, research, teaching, and practice in business ethics today. As such, this paper presents a critical review and analysis of the pertinent literature. This paper also reviews modern theories of ethical decision making in business ethics. Gaps in our current understanding and directions for future research in behavioral business ethics are presented. By providing this important theoretical background information, targeted critical analysis, and directions for future research, this paper assists management scholars as they begin to seek a more unified approach, develop newer models of ethical decision making, and conduct business ethics research that examines the moral judgment-action gap. (shrink)
Moral stress is an increasingly significant concept in business ethics and the workplace environment. This study compares the impact of moral stress with other job stressors on three important employee variables—fatigue, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions—by utilizing survey data from 305 customer-contact employees of a financial institution’s call center. Statistical analysis on the interaction of moral stress and the three employee variables was performed while controlling for other types of job stress as well as demographic variables. The results reveal that (...) even after including the control variables in the statistical models, moral stress remains a statistically significant predictor of increased employee fatigue, decreased job satisfaction, and increased turnover intentions. Implications for future research and for organizations are discussed. (shrink)
In behavioral ethics today, there is debate as to which theory of moral development is the best for understanding ethical decision making, thereby facilitating ethical behavior. This debate between behavioral ethicists has been profoundly influenced by the field of moral psychology. Unfortunately, in the course of this marriage between moral psychology and business ethics and subsequent internal debate, a simple but critical understanding of human being in the field of management has been obscured; i.e., that morality is not a secondary (...) phenomenon arising out of something else. Therefore, in this paper, we will argue that there is a need in behavioral ethics to shift our understanding away from the influence of contemporary moral psychology and back to management theorist Ghoshal’s :75–91, 2005) view of what it means to be human in which the moral is fundamental. To assist in this labor, we will build on the philosophical work of Emmanuel Levinas who sees ethics, regardless of the setting, as a metaphysical concern. What this means is that Levinas sees the essential moral character of human life and the reality of human agency as ontologically fundamental, or constitutive of human nature itself. In other words, the ethical is the “first cause” in regard to understanding the nature and action of the individual, including within organizations. Thus, morality in any sphere of human endeavor, including in business, is not merely epiphenomenal to some more fundamental reality. (shrink)
Everybody negotiates. But not everybody negotiates ethically. One driver of unethical negotiation behavior is power. Yet, we still haven’t discovered the principalmoderating and mediating influences between power and ethical negotiation behavior. In this pair of experimental studies we’re interested in finding out how resilience and moral identity affect an individual’s ethical behavior in both simple and complex negotiations when primed for power.
This article explores the prevailing assumption of instrumentalism in negotiation and argues that contrary to the popular conception in negotiation scholarship, negotiators need not be assumed to be ontologically individualistic or purely self-interested in their motivation and action. We show the contribution that can be made to the field by an approach to negotiation that does not presume a strong and inevitable self-interest as the fundamental starting point of any account of negotiation behavior and we offer ideas for an alternative (...) starting point, which we call the agentic-relational model. (shrink)