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Do Employees Act Like They Think? Exploring The Dichotomy Between Moral Judgment and Ethical Behavior

Author: RICHARD D. WHITE, JR.
Published in PAQ, Vol. 25 No. 4

One frontier of ethics is a debate. Ethical scholars and psychologists look at how people act ethically and some argue that it is done from a point of view of rationality and others argue it is from habit or other less rational basis of decision of decision-making. Some argue such decisions are made from a person\\\'s inner sense of morality which directly affects ethical behavior. Thus, morality is the result of long-term, irreversible cognitive development and the most dominant determinants of overall ethical behavior. A principled, highly moral person behaves ethically over the long haul and is able to withstand short-term environmental pressures to act unethically. Others argue that disconnect exists between moral thought and action. They say that moral development plays a less powerful role because the dominant factors affecting ethical behavior are more environmental, short-term, reversible, and manipulative. Thus, an otherwise highly moral person could be induced through brief but intense environmental changes to act quite unethically and even pathologically. This article addresses this debate.

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