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date: 25 June 2022

Moral Emotion and Intuition in Organizationslocked

Moral Emotion and Intuition in Organizationslocked

  • Armin Pircher Verdorfer, Armin Pircher VerdorferAmsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam
  • Martin FladererMartin FladererTUM School of Management, Technical University of Munich
  •  and Clarissa ZwargClarissa ZwargTUM School of Management, Technical University of Munich

Summary

While traditional approaches have described ethical decision-making in organizations mainly as being the result of rational deliberative thought, a steadily growing body of research indicates that moral decision-making is strongly influenced by moral intuitions and emotions. The moral intuition approach typically has two aspects: the process through which moral intuitions emerge and their content. With regard to the process, moral intuitions represent fast, automatic, evaluative reactions that are emotionally charged. An important tenet of moral intuition research refers to the primacy of intuition—the notion that moral intuitions generally drive moral decision-making. Accordingly, moral intuitions are described as starting points for rational reflection processes that follow later. On this basis, it has also been argued that the interplay of moral intuition and deliberation is malleable. Specifically, the well-formed moral intuitions of experts are thought to differ from the naive moral intuitions of novices. With increasing experience and reflection about the moral issues in one’s experiences, deliberation increasingly enables individuals to shift between intuitions and reasoning and to monitor, test, weigh, and reject both intuitions and reasons. The content of moral intuition refers to the foundations of morality, which are the underlying moral domain, specifying what individuals view as morally right or wrong. The most commonly referenced account in this field, Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), argues that moral intuitions are a function of evolutionarily developed, innate predispositions to master multiple social problems that interact with social and cultural influences. These predispositions, or moral foundations, include care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. While empirical work on the role of moral intuition in organizations is still at an early stage, several areas have been identified that may particularly benefit from integrating moral intuition process and content. For instance, the moral intuition perspective can aid the understanding and prevention of processes through which unethical behaviors and practices, such as corruption, may be justified and normalized in organizations. Furthermore, the moral intuition perspective is increasingly used to study the moral leadership process, most notably the link between leader moral foundations and moral leader behaviors, as well as the role of (mis)fit between leader and follower moral foundations. Moral emotions are an inherent element of the moral intuition process and refer to the welfare of others and the promotion of a functioning society. It is thought that individuals experience moral emotions when they or others have violated moral standards. These emotions build the motivational force for moral action and are often placed in five clusters: other‐praising (e.g., gratitude), other‐suffering (e.g., sympathy), other‐condemning (e.g., contempt), self‐condemning (e.g., guilt), and self-approving (e.g., moral pride) moral emotions.

Subjects

  • Ethics
  • Organizational Behavior

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