Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 195–205 | Cite as

Rational Moralists and Moral Rationalists Value-Based Management: Model, Criterion and Validation



This paper considers ethical decision making by blending three streams of related research: cognitive moral development of the decision maker, rational choice theory and a subjective expected utility model. Ethical dilemmas can be defined as situations where moral certainty is compromised by rational cognition. In this paper, the authors assume that some people use a morality-first perspective and others a rationality-first perspective. Ethical scenarios were written and used to test hypotheses derived from this perspective. The instrument developed was shown to be in need of further refinement. Results are discussed in terms of relationships between participant-characteristics variables overall and subscale responses to the ethical scenarios.


ethical decision making cognitive moral development rational choice theory stages of development subjective expected utility 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Coleman, J. S. 1990Foundations of Social TheoryHarvard University PressCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Fudge, R. S., Schlacter, J. L. 1999‘Motivating Employees to Act Ethically: An Expectancy Theory Approach’Journal of Business Ethics18295304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Honeycutt, E. D., Glassman, M.,Jr., Zugelder, M. T., Karande, K. 2001‘Determinants of ethical behavior: A study of autosalespeople’Journal of Business Ethics326979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kohlberg, L. 1976‘Moral Stages and Moralization: The Cognitive Developmental Approach’Lickona, T. eds. Moral Development and Behavior: Theory, Research, and Social IssuesHolt Rinehart, dc WinstonNew York3153Google Scholar
  5. Kohlberg, L. 1984The Psychology of Moral Development: The Nature and Validity of Moral StagesHarper & RowSan FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  6. Lawshe, C. H. 1975‘A Quantitative Approach to Content Validity’Personnel Psychology28563575Google Scholar
  7. Louden, R. 1984‘On Some Vices of Virtue Ethics’American Philosophical Quarterly2122736Google Scholar
  8. Marnburg, E. 2001‘The Questionable Use of Moral Development Theory in Studies of Business Ethics: Discussion and Empirical Findings’Journal of Business Ethics32275283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nagin, D. S., Paternoster, R. 1993‘Enduring Individual Differences and Rational Choice Theories of Crime’Law and Society Review27467496Google Scholar
  10. Nagin, D. S., Paternoster, R. 1994‘Personal Capital and Social Control: The Deterrence Implications of a Theory of Individual Differences in Criminal Offending’Criminology32581598Google Scholar
  11. Rest, J. R. 1979Development in Judging Moral IssuesUniversity of Minnesota PressMinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  12. Roozen, I., Pelzsmacker, D., Bostyn, F. 2001‘The Ethical Dimensions of Decision Processes of Employees’Journal of Business Ethics338799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Vroom, V. H. 1964Work and MotivationJohn Wiley & SonsNew York NYGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Associate Professor of ManagementUniversity of Tennessee at MartinTennesseeU.S.A.
  2. 2.Professor of ManagementLambuth UniversityJacksonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations