Complementing Kohlberg: Mapping the Ethical Reasoning Used by Managers for Their Own Dilemma Cases

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In standard Kohlbergian research, respondents tackle hypothetical ethical dilemma cases and state what should be done and why (a form of espoused theory). Kohlberg's six-stage model of espoused theory (KSSMET) is used to assess the responses. An individual's ethical reasoning is located either at a single stage or at transition points. This paper demonstrates a complementary research paradigm where ten Hong Kong Chinese managers were asked how they had tackled their own ethical dilemmas at work and why (indicating theory-in-use). Their ethical reasoning theory-in-use was found to be volatile (spanning many stages). An aggregate map of respondents' theory-in-use values (MTV) was developed as an approximate “cultural” map, representing socially-constructed values which may change over time. While MTV was found strongly to resemble KSSMET, there were some differences in actual values expressed which appeared to reflect cultural differences between Chinese and U.S. managers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23 - 49
JournalHuman Relations
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Managers
manager
cultural difference
Ethical reasoning
Kohlberg
Values
Hong Kong
paradigm
Stage model
Ethical dilemmas
Ethical Dilemmas

Cite this

@article{ece9d297b8e441af99237f3f2eea4af0,
title = "Complementing Kohlberg: Mapping the Ethical Reasoning Used by Managers for Their Own Dilemma Cases",
abstract = "In standard Kohlbergian research, respondents tackle hypothetical ethical dilemma cases and state what should be done and why (a form of espoused theory). Kohlberg's six-stage model of espoused theory (KSSMET) is used to assess the responses. An individual's ethical reasoning is located either at a single stage or at transition points. This paper demonstrates a complementary research paradigm where ten Hong Kong Chinese managers were asked how they had tackled their own ethical dilemmas at work and why (indicating theory-in-use). Their ethical reasoning theory-in-use was found to be volatile (spanning many stages). An aggregate map of respondents' theory-in-use values (MTV) was developed as an approximate “cultural” map, representing socially-constructed values which may change over time. While MTV was found strongly to resemble KSSMET, there were some differences in actual values expressed which appeared to reflect cultural differences between Chinese and U.S. managers.",
author = "SNELL, {Robin Stanley}",
year = "1996",
doi = "10.1177/001872679604900102",
language = "English",
volume = "49",
pages = "23 -- 49",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "1",

}

Complementing Kohlberg: Mapping the Ethical Reasoning Used by Managers for Their Own Dilemma Cases. / SNELL, Robin Stanley.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 49, No. 1, 1996, p. 23 - 49.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

TY - JOUR

T1 - Complementing Kohlberg: Mapping the Ethical Reasoning Used by Managers for Their Own Dilemma Cases

AU - SNELL, Robin Stanley

PY - 1996

Y1 - 1996

N2 - In standard Kohlbergian research, respondents tackle hypothetical ethical dilemma cases and state what should be done and why (a form of espoused theory). Kohlberg's six-stage model of espoused theory (KSSMET) is used to assess the responses. An individual's ethical reasoning is located either at a single stage or at transition points. This paper demonstrates a complementary research paradigm where ten Hong Kong Chinese managers were asked how they had tackled their own ethical dilemmas at work and why (indicating theory-in-use). Their ethical reasoning theory-in-use was found to be volatile (spanning many stages). An aggregate map of respondents' theory-in-use values (MTV) was developed as an approximate “cultural” map, representing socially-constructed values which may change over time. While MTV was found strongly to resemble KSSMET, there were some differences in actual values expressed which appeared to reflect cultural differences between Chinese and U.S. managers.

AB - In standard Kohlbergian research, respondents tackle hypothetical ethical dilemma cases and state what should be done and why (a form of espoused theory). Kohlberg's six-stage model of espoused theory (KSSMET) is used to assess the responses. An individual's ethical reasoning is located either at a single stage or at transition points. This paper demonstrates a complementary research paradigm where ten Hong Kong Chinese managers were asked how they had tackled their own ethical dilemmas at work and why (indicating theory-in-use). Their ethical reasoning theory-in-use was found to be volatile (spanning many stages). An aggregate map of respondents' theory-in-use values (MTV) was developed as an approximate “cultural” map, representing socially-constructed values which may change over time. While MTV was found strongly to resemble KSSMET, there were some differences in actual values expressed which appeared to reflect cultural differences between Chinese and U.S. managers.

U2 - 10.1177/001872679604900102

DO - 10.1177/001872679604900102

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

VL - 49

SP - 23

EP - 49

JO - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

IS - 1

ER -