Type of Document Dissertation Author Bratton, Virginia Kim Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-06202004-213007 Title Affective Morality: The role of emotions in the ethical decision-making process Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Management, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title K. Michele Kacmar Committee Chair David J. Ketchen Committee Member John A. Corrigan Committee Member Monica K. Hurdal Committee Member Pamela L. Perrewe Committee Member Keywords
- Affective Events Theory
- Moral Deliberation
- Business Ethics
Date of Defense 2004-05-19 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation integrated the role of emotions into the ethical decision-making process, which traditionally has been conceptualized as an exclusively logical process. The study examined the process by which the arousal of emotion impacts individual moral deliberation and ultimately moral behavior. Although most existing research emphasizes the cognitive elements of ethical decision-making, this study provides evidence to support a new conceptualization of moral deliberation -- one in which emotion is a necessary component leading to ethical decisions and ethical behavior.
Theory and research in the areas of ethical decision-making and affective events offer insights into how emotion specifically impacts moral deliberation and behavior. Based on these insights, a model of affective morality is developed and tested. The model suggests that ethical decisions and behavioral outcomes depend upon the content and degree of individual affective reactions in response to ethical situations.
The sample used to examine the proposed model consisted of 227 college students from 5 different disciplines at a large 4-year public research university. The results provided empirical evidence, which suggests that peer influence is a stronger determinant of ethical behavior than individual affective reactions. Specifically, an individual seems to be more likely to engage in ethical behavior when his/her peers also behave ethically.
Although, affective reactions were not a significant antecedent to ethical behavior, the form of the relationship observed does suggest that moral deliberation may be shaped by individual affective reactions and future study is warranted. Furthermore, the results suggest that previous conceptualizations of moral deliberation have been incomplete in their neglect to include the role of affect or emotion. Both theoretical and practical implications of these research findings are discussed.
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