Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 16, Issue 12–13, pp 1319–1329 | Cite as

Re-examining the Influence of Individual Values on Ethical Decision Making

  • Saundra H. Glover
  • Minnette A. Bumpus
  • John E. Logan
  • James R. Ciesla


This paper presents the results of five years of research involving three studies. The first two studies investigated the impact of the value honesty/integrity on the ethical decision choice an individual makes, as moderated by the individual personality traits of self-monitoring and private self-consciousness. The third study, which is the focus of this paper, expanded the two earlier studies by varying the level of moral intensity and including the influence of demographical factors and other workplace values: achievement, fairness, and concern for others on the ethical decision process. These studies were designed using a laboratory format and a decision exercise that attempted to establish realistic business conflict situations through decision scenarios. Support is presented for the influence of gender and achievement on ethical choice. Recommendations for the future direction of this stream of research are given.

decision making ethics moral intensity self-consciousness self-moitoring values 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aupperle, K. E., A. B. Carroll and J. D. Hatfield: 1985, ‘An Empirical Examination of the Relationship between Corporate Social Performance and Profitability’, Academy of Management Journal 28(2), 446–463.Google Scholar
  2. Bowman, E. H. and M. Haire: 1975, ‘A Strategic Posture towards Corporate Social Responsibility’, California Management Review 18(27), 44–57.Google Scholar
  3. Brenner, S. N. and E. A. Molander: 1977, ‘Is the Ethics of Business Changing?’, Harvard Business Review 55(1), 57–70.Google Scholar
  4. Brief, A. P., J. M. Dukerich and L. I. Doran: 1990, ‘Resolving Ethical Dilemmas in Management: Experimental Investigation of Values, Accountability, and Choice’. Paper submitted to Journal of Applied Social Psychology.Google Scholar
  5. Chonko, L. B. and S. D. Hunt: 1985, ‘Ethics and Marketing Management: An Empirical Examination’, Journal of Business Research 13(August), 339–359.Google Scholar
  6. Deux, K. and L. Wrightsman: 1984, Social Psychology in the 80's, 4th ed. (Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., Monterey California).Google Scholar
  7. Duval, S. and R. A. Wicklund: 1972, A Theory of Objective Self-awareness (Academic Press, New York).Google Scholar
  8. Ferrell, O. C. and L. G. Gresham: 1985, ‘A Contingency Framework for Understanding Ethical Decision Making Marketing’, Journal of Marketing 49, 87–96.Google Scholar
  9. Forrest, P. J., D. S. Cochran, D. F. Ray and D. P. Robin: 1990, ‘An Empirical Examination of Four Factors Thought to be Influential in Ethical Judgments’, Paper presented to the Social Issues Division of the Academy of Management Meetings (San Francisco, California).Google Scholar
  10. Fritzche, D. J. and H. Becker: 1984, ‘Linking Management Behavior to Ethical Philosophy: An Empirical Investigation’, Academy of Management Journal 27(1), 166–175.Google Scholar
  11. Fritzche, D. J.: 1988, ‘The Effects of Personal Values and Organizational Goals upon the Ethical Dimensions of Decision Making’, Paper submitted to the Social Issues Division, Academy of Management Meetings.Google Scholar
  12. Glover, S. H.: 1991, ‘The Influences of Individual Values on Ethical Decision Making’, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.Google Scholar
  13. Glover, S. H., M. A. Bumpus and J. E. Logan: 1993, ‘Putting Values into Decision Making: The Influence of the Value Honesty/Integrity on the Decision Choice’, Proceedings of the Southern Management Association: 428–431.Google Scholar
  14. Hegarty, W. H. and H. P. Sims: 1978, ‘Some Determinants of Unethical Decision Behavior: An Experiment’, Journal of Applied Psychology 63(4), 451–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hegarty, W. H. and H. P. Sims: 1979, ‘Organizational Philosophy, Policies, and Objectives Related to Unethical Decision Behavior: A Laboratory Experiment’, Journal of Applied Psychology 64(3), 331–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jensen, L. C. and S. A. Wygant: 1990, ‘The Development of Self-valuing Theory: A Practical Approach for Business Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics 9, 215–225.Google Scholar
  17. Jones, T. M.: 1991, ‘Ethical Decision Making by Individuals in Organizations: An Issue-contingent Model’, Academy of Management Review 12(2), 366–395.Google Scholar
  18. Jones, T. M. and F. H. Gautschi III: 1988, ‘Will the Ethics of Business Change? A Survey of Future Executives’, Journal of Business Ethics 7, 231–248.Google Scholar
  19. Kidwell, J. M., R. E. Stevens and A. L. Bethker: 1987, ‘Differences in the Ethical Perceptions between Male and Female Managers: Myth or Reality?’, Journal of Business Ethics 6, 489–493.Google Scholar
  20. Laczniak, G. R. and E. J. Inderrieden: 1987, ‘The Influence of Stated Organizational Concern upon Ethical Decision Making’, Journal of Business Ethics 6, 297–307.Google Scholar
  21. Liedtka, J. M.: 1989, ‘Value Congruence: The Interplay of Individual and Organizational Value Systems’, Journal of Business Ethics 8, 805–815.Google Scholar
  22. McClelland, D. C.: 1961, The Achieving Society (Van Nustrard, Princeton, New Jersey).Google Scholar
  23. Manning, F. V.: 1981, Managerial Dilemmas and Executive Growth (Reston, Reston, Virginia).Google Scholar
  24. Meglino, B. M., E. C. Ravlin and C. L. Adkins: 1990, ‘Value Congruence and Satisfaction with a Leader: An Examination of the Role of Interaction’, Human Relations 44, 481–495.Google Scholar
  25. Monson, T. C., J. W. Hesley and L. Chernick: 1986, ‘Specifying when Personality Traits Can and Cannot Predict Behavior: An Alternative to Abandoning the Attempt to Predict Single Act Criteria’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43, 385–387.Google Scholar
  26. Moser, M. R.: 1988, ‘Ethical Conflict at Work: A Critique of the Literature and Recommendations for Future Research’, Journal of Business Ethics 7, 381–387.Google Scholar
  27. Murphy, P. R. and J. M. Daley: 1990, ‘Ethical Behavior of U.S. General Freight Carriers: An Empirical Investigation’, Transportation Journal 30(1), 20–29.Google Scholar
  28. Randall, D. M. and A. M. Gibson: 1990, ‘Methodology in Business Ethics Research: A Review and Critical Assessment’, Journal of Business Ethics 9, 457–471.Google Scholar
  29. Ravlin, E. C.: 1990, ‘Ethical Decision Making: Group and Individual Influences’, Paper prepared for the Riegel and Emory Human Resource Research Center, Summer.Google Scholar
  30. Ravlin, E. C. and B. M. Meglino: 1987, ‘Issues in Work Values Measurement’, in W. C. Frederick (ed.), Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy 9, 153–183 (JAI Press, Inc., Greenwich, CT).Google Scholar
  31. Ravlin, E. C. and B. M. Meglino: 1986, Comparative Emphasis Scale (University of South Carolina, Riegel and Emory Center, Columbia, SC).Google Scholar
  32. Rokeach, M.: 1973, The Nature of Human Values (Free Press, New York).Google Scholar
  33. Ruegger, D. and E. W. King: 1992, ‘A Study of the Effect of Age and Gender upon Student Business Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics 11, 179–186.Google Scholar
  34. Serwinck, P. J.: 1992, ‘Demographic and Related Differences in Ethical Views among Small Businesses’, Journal of Business Ethics 11, 555–566.Google Scholar
  35. Snyder, M. S.: 1974, ‘The Self-monitoring of Expressive Behavior’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 30, 526–537.Google Scholar
  36. Snyder, M and N. Cantor: 1980, ‘Thinking about Ourselves and Others: Self-monitoring and Social Knowledge’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39(2), 222–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Snyder, M. and W. B. Swann: 1976, ‘When Actions Reflect Attitudes: The Politics of Impression Management’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34, 1034–1042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stratton, W. E., W. R. Flynn and G. S. Johnson: 1981, ‘Moral Development and Decision Making: A Study of Student Ethics’, Journal of Enterprise Management 3, 35–41.Google Scholar
  39. Trevino, L. K.: 1986, Ethical Decision Making in Organizations: A Person-situation Interactionist Model’, Academy of Management Review 11(3), 601–617.Google Scholar
  40. Trevino, L. K. and S. Youngblood: 1990, ‘Bad Apples in Bad Barrels: A Causal Analysis of Ethical Decision-making Behavior in Organizations’, Journal of Applied Psychology 75(4), 378–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Weber, J.: 1990, ‘Managers' Moral Reasoning: Assessing their Responses in Three Moral Dilemmas’, Human Relations 43(7), 687–702.Google Scholar
  42. Weick, K.: 1979, The Social Psychology of Organizing (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts).Google Scholar
  43. Zey-Ferrell, M., O. C. Ferrell and K. M. Weaver: 1979, ‘Predicting Unethical Behavior among Marketing Practitioners’, Human Relations 32(7), 557–569.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saundra H. Glover
    • 1
  • Minnette A. Bumpus
    • 1
  • John E. Logan
    • 1
  • James R. Ciesla
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Business & Administration and Graduate School of BusinessUniversity of Colorado-BoulderBoulder

Personalised recommendations