Moral judgment in a business setting : the role of managers’ moral foundation, ideology, and level of moral development

Fuan LI, Chen Ho, Mike CHAO, Yifeng, Nancy CHEN, Sixue ZHANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the extensive research conducted on moral judgment, the role of moral foundations in moral judgment in business has largely been overlooked. Motivated by the increasing concern about the ethical issues observed in China, this study aims to examine the impact of moral foundations on Chinese managers’ moral judgment while simultaneously looking into the role of moral ideology and the level of managers’ moral development. A sample survey was conducted in Shanghai, China, which involved 451 practicing business managers who were pursuing their MBA degree in a nearby university at the time of data collection. Both structural equation modeling (SEM) and hierarchical regression were used in data analyses. The results reveal that individualizing moral foundations and moral idealism have significant positive impacts on moral judgment. Moreover, the findings indicate that moral relativism and levels of mangers’ moral development moderate the relationship between individualizing moral foundations and moral judgment with the impact of individualizing moral foundations being stronger when managers’ relativism is low rather high or when their moral development is high than it is low. The managerial implications of the research and future research direction are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-143
Number of pages23
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Faculty Research Grants (Business) of Lingnan University to the third author (Grant Number: DB14A2).


  • Business ethics in China
  • Idealism
  • Moral development
  • Moral foundation
  • Moral judgment
  • Relativism


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