This research investigates the degree to which there are differences in the moral reasoning ability of business top, middle, and first-line managers in selected industries.
This study considered the influence of three independent variables: reported organizational ethical climate, locus of control, and selected demographic and institutional variables on managers reasoning ability. This researcher relies on Kohlberg's theory of moral development, Victor and Cullen's ethical work climate theory, and Rotter's theory of internal-external locus of control (which evolved from Carl Jung). A short form of Rest's DIT instrument measured the moral reasoning abilities of the participants. Selected demographic and institutional variables (age, work tenure, education, gender, management level and industry category) were also measured.
A survey questionnaire was sent to 400 managerial and executive level employees at a random sample of Fortune 500 firms throughout the United States: Dun & Bradstreet provided the researcher with a proportional stratified random sample of these 400 managerial and executive level employees at a variety of organizations.
Interestingly, women exhibited insignificant higher (more external) mean I-E scores and (more principled) higher mean “P” score than men. Statistically significant relationship between age and perceived organizational ethical climate types (Caring, Law and Code, Rule, Instrument, and Independence) and between management levels and organizational ethical climate were also found.
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Forte, A. Antecedents of Managers Moral Reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics 51, 315–347 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:BUSI.0000032501.59580.33