Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 243–261 | Cite as

The Impact of Locus of Control, Moral Intensity, and the Microsocial Ethical Environment on Purchasing-Related Ethical Reasoning

  • Jocelyn HusserEmail author
  • Jean-Marc Andre
  • Véronique Lespinet-Najib
Report of Empirical Research


This study uses a sample of 242 European professional purchasers to examine the six characteristics of the decision-making process developed by Jones (Acad Manag Rev 16:366–395, 1991). The illustration mobilizes six original scenarios reproducing typical purchasing situations. Two versions of each scenario were used, one representing low moral intensity and the other showing high moral intensity. Two populations were sampled: one of 120 purchasers responding to the first version of the questionnaire and a second of 122 different purchasers responding to version two. Each version contained three low-moral-intensity scenarios and three high-moral-intensity scenarios. The research also investigates two concepts suggested by Hannah et al. (Acad Manag Rev 36(4):663–685, 2011): examining the complexity of ethical decision-making through scenarios and microsocial professional ethical contexts. The findings reveal that neither traditional individual characteristics (gender, age, experience) nor standard company characteristics (type of activity, company size) have a real impact on two stages of Rest’s (Moral development: Advances in research and theory. Praeger Press, New York, 1986) model (awareness and intention). They also show that internal locus of control and a high microsocial ethical environment have a positive impact on purchaser awareness and intention to act ethically for four of the six dimensions: magnitude of consequences, social consensus, temporal immediacy, and concentration of effect. Moral intensity factors also have a positive impact on these four dimensions. The two other dimensions (probability of effect and proximity) are not related to the independent variables.


Microsocial ethical environment of proximity Ethical decision-making Locus of control Moral intensity Supplier–purchaser relationships 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERGAM, AMGSM-IAE AixAix Marseille UniversitéAix en ProvenceFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire IMS-Cognitique, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Cognitique, Bordeaux INPUniversité de BordeauxTalenceFrance

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