Studying Moral Ethos, Using an Adapted Kohlbergian Model

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alasdair MacIntyre's (1988) analysis of moral philosophy shows that liberal individualism, the dominant contemporary tradition, has failed to secure consensus on ethical principles. It follows that Kohlberg's stages model of socio-moral development, which proposes universal morality, lacks universal foundations. There are further pitfalls when applying the model to organizational moral ethos (OME). I argue that these problems can be circumvented, and I reformulate the Kohlberg model, building it into a framework for analyzing five interrelated sub-systems of organizational moral ethos. These are: approach to formal moral governance; basis of moral authority; deep implicit socialization; morality behind normative structure; and corporate outlook towards social responsibility. I present 19 propositions based on the core idea that in liberal individualist societies, postconventionally orientated OME would lead to a reduction in ethical dysfunctions such as bribery, discrimination, employee exploitation, dangerous products, and environmental damage. I conclude with six further questions to consider in OME research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-295
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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morality
social responsibility
environmental damage
individualism
subsystem
corruption
socialization
exploitation
discrimination
moral philosophy
employee
governance
lack
society

Cite this

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title = "Studying Moral Ethos, Using an Adapted Kohlbergian Model",
abstract = "Alasdair MacIntyre's (1988) analysis of moral philosophy shows that liberal individualism, the dominant contemporary tradition, has failed to secure consensus on ethical principles. It follows that Kohlberg's stages model of socio-moral development, which proposes universal morality, lacks universal foundations. There are further pitfalls when applying the model to organizational moral ethos (OME). I argue that these problems can be circumvented, and I reformulate the Kohlberg model, building it into a framework for analyzing five interrelated sub-systems of organizational moral ethos. These are: approach to formal moral governance; basis of moral authority; deep implicit socialization; morality behind normative structure; and corporate outlook towards social responsibility. I present 19 propositions based on the core idea that in liberal individualist societies, postconventionally orientated OME would lead to a reduction in ethical dysfunctions such as bribery, discrimination, employee exploitation, dangerous products, and environmental damage. I conclude with six further questions to consider in OME research.",
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Studying Moral Ethos, Using an Adapted Kohlbergian Model. / SNELL, Robin Stanley.

In: Organization Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2000, p. 267-295.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

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