, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 585-599

Empiricism in business ethics: Suggested research directions

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Abstract

This paper considers future directions of empirical research in business ethics and presents a series of recommendations. Greater emphasis should be placed on the normative basis of empirical studies, behavior (rather than attitudes) should be established as the key dependent variable, theoretical models of ethical decision making should be tested, and empirical studies need to focus on theory-building. Extensions of methodology and the unit of analysis are proposed together with recommendations concerning the need for replication and validity, and building links to managerial and public policy applications.

Diana C. Robertson is Robert Egelston Term Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. While working on this paper, Dr. Robertson was a Visiting Assistant Professor at The London Business School. Her research interests include individuals' decision-making processes about ethical issues and the impact of corporate compensation and control systems on employees' ethical behavior. Dr. Robertson has published articles in theSloan Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, andOrganization Science.