Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 381–404

An Analysis of the Factor Structure of Jones’ Moral Intensity Construct

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-0006-5

Cite this article as:
McMahon, J.M. & Harvey, R.J. J Bus Ethics (2006) 64: 381. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-0006-5

Abstract

In 1991, Jones developed an issue-contingent model of ethical decision making in which moral intensity is posited to affect the four stages of Rest’s 1986 model (awareness, judgment, intention, and behavior). Jones claimed that moral intensity, which is “the extent of issue-related moral imperative in a situation” (p. 372), consists of six characteristics: magnitude of consequences (MC), social consensus (SC), probability of effect (PE), temporal immediacy (TI), proximity (PX), and concentration of effect (CE). This article reports the findings of two studies that analyzed the factor structure of moral intensity, operationalized by a 12-item Perceived Moral Intensity Scale (PMIS) adapted from the work of Singhapakdi et al. [1996, Journal of Business Research, 36, 245–255] and Frey [2000, Journal of Business Ethics, 26, 181–195]. The two items that were purported to measure CE were dropped due to their inability to effectively tap into the characteristic proposed by Jones. Factor analyses of the remaining 10 items supported a 3-factor structure, with the MC, PE, and TI items loading on the first factor, the PX items loading on the second factor, and the SC items loading on the third factor. These factors were labeled: Probable Magnitude of Consequences, Proximity, and Social Consensus. The authors conclude that moral intensity consists of three characteristics, rather than the six posited by Jones.

Keywords

ethical decision makingfactor analysismoral intensity

Abbreviations

CE

Concentration of Effect

CFA

Confirmatory Factor Analysis

EFA

Exploratory Factor Analysis

F

Factor

MC

Magnitude of Consequences

MI

Moral Intensity

MIS

Moral Intensity Scale

PE

Probability of Effect

PMIS

Perceived Moral Intensity Scale

PX

Proximity

R2

Communality

SC

Social Consensus

TI

Temporal Immediacy

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christopher Newport UniversityNewport NewsU.S.A.
  2. 2.Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgU.S.A.