Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 147, Issue 4, pp 793–805 | Cite as

Measuring Individuals’ Virtues in Business

  • David DawsonEmail author
Original Paper


This paper argues that Shanahan and Hyman’s (J Bus Eth 42:197–208, 2003) Virtue Ethics Scale (VES) should be abandoned and that work should begin to develop better-grounded measures for identifying individual business virtue (IBV) in context. It comes to this conclusion despite the VES being the only existing measure of individuals’ virtues that focuses on business people in general, rather than those who hold specific leadership or audit roles. The paper presents a study that, in attempting to validate the VES, raises significant concerns about its construction. In particular, investigation of the VES items leads to adjustments in the language used and examines participants’ understanding of the virtue terms and their descriptors. Confirmatory factor analysis of data collected from a sample of 137 HR practitioners establishes that the 6-factor solution identified by Shanahan and Hyman is not appropriate for the sample under examination. Rather, exploratory factor analysis results in three dimensions based in 13 items focusing on the individuals’ reliability, resourcefulness, and leadership. Finally, multiple regression establishes that these dimensions do not on the whole show associations with MA or PRESOR, two measures through which it would be expected to establish convergent and divergent validity. The paper concludes by suggesting guidelines for the development of future measures of IBV.


Virtue ethics Measurement Moral attentiveness PRESOR 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Business SchoolUniversity of GloucestershireCheltenhamUK

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