Title: Correspondences between Kohlberg's theory of moral development and subsequent research in business ethics

Authors: Sandra J. Hartman, Lillian Y. Fok, Susan M.L. Zee

Addresses: Department of Management, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA. ' Department of Management, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA. ' Department of Marketing and Finance, Southeastern Louisiana University, Box 10844, Hammond, LA 70402, USA

Abstract: The current focus on business ethics has brought a resurgence of interest in ethics and ethical differences. In this study, we extend the business ethics literature that uses vignettes to present various kinds of ethical dilemmas to examine the relationships among several well-known and widely-used vignette measures, with focus on relationships between the business-oriented model arising from Forsyth|s [Forsyth, D.R. (1980) |A taxonomy of ethical ideologies|, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 39, pp.175-184.] work to the more general theory and model of moral development offered by Kohlberg [Kohlberg, L. (1981) Essays in Moral Development. New York, NY: Harper and Row (pp.409-412)]. We identify correspondences, especially between the Forsyth notion of idealism and the Kohlberg discussion of higher levels of moral development, and report correlation between the reasoning behind subjects| behavioural intentions and their moral development.

Keywords: enterprise development; ethical development; ethics position questionnaire; Kohlberg; theory of moral development; business ethics; idealism; behavioural intentions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMED.2009.025262

International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, 2009 Vol.7 No.1, pp.1 - 10

Published online: 18 May 2009 *

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