Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 127, Issue 1, pp 149–163 | Cite as

When Harm is at Stake: Ethical Value Orientation, Managerial Decisions, and Relational Outcomes

  • Amy Klemm Verbos
  • Janice S. Miller


Relational dimensions of ethical decision making are a potentially interesting focus to enrich our understanding of decision-making processes. This study examines decision preferences and reactions to decisions in a situation of possible harm. Two ethical value orientations, just value orientation (JVO) and relational value orientation (RVO), are introduced. Participants chose relational cooperation, instrumental cooperation, or independence in dealing with an uncertain situation of possible harm. JVO contributes to a decision of relational cooperation. Only RVO was related to expected mutual benefit and relational connection. Overall, this study supports our central thesis that a relational dimension of ethical decisions provides interesting insights into behavioral ethics in organizations and could expand the scope of ethical decision research.


Ethical value orientation Relational ethics Consequentialism Relational connection Expected mutual benefit 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementCentral Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA
  2. 2.Lubar School of BusinessUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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