An investigation into the effect of cognitive moral development on ethical judgments, intentions, and behavior

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Date
1996-09-15
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Publisher
Virginia Tech
Abstract

The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of cognitive moral development on ethical judgments, intentions, and behavior. In particular, the question is addressed as to whether cognitive moral development plays a moderating role in the Hunt-Vitell (1986, 1991) model between the situational factors and teleological evaluation. A 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experimental design involving cognitive moral development, desirability of perceived consequences to self, and desirability of perceived consequences to other, was operationalized through the use of specific scenarios designed to elicit ethical decision making. The population used in this study were a sample of purchasing managers from the Carolinas-Virginia chapter of the National Association of Purchasing Managers. Pretesting was conducted to refine the scenarios used in the final study, and to assess subject reactions.

The results provided some support to several of the links proposed by Hunt and Vitell. However, the central role of cognitive moral development in the model was not strongly supported. Limitations of the study, future research, and managerial implications of the findings are discussed.

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Keywords
moral development, Kohlberg, Hunt-Vitell, ethics
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