Affective Morality: The Role of Emotions in the Ethical Decision-Making Process
Contributor(s)Bratton, Virginia K. (authoraut)
Kacmar, K. Michele (professor directing dissertation)
Corrigan, John (outside committee member)
Hurdal, Monica (committee member)
Ketchen, Dave (committee member)
Perrewé, Pamela (committee member)
Department of Management (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
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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.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Management in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Summer Semester, 2004.
May 19, 2004.
Affective Events Theory, Moral Deliberation, Business Ethics
Includes bibliographical references.
K. Michele Kacmar, Professor Directing Dissertation; John Corrigan, Outside Committee Member; Monica Hurdal, Committee Member; Dave Ketchen, Committee Member; Pamela Perrewé, Committee Member.