Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation was to empirically examine an ethical decision-making model that contained individual, issue-related, and organizational factors. At the individual level, the relationship between two job attitudes, job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and ethical judgments was assessed. At the issue-related level, the association between moral intensity and ethical judgments was examined. At the organizational level, the relationship between ethical context and ethical judgments was examined. The hypothesized moderating effect of ethical context on the relationship between job attitudes and ethical judgments was also tested.

A national sample of 3,000 sales professionals was used to test the hypotheses. The model was assessed using hierarchical linear regression and moderated regression analysis. Overall, the results provided marginal support for a relationship between job attitudes and ethical judgments, strong support for a relationship between moral intensity and ethical judgments, weak support for a relationship between ethical context and ethical judgments, and no support for the proposed moderating effects.

The study makes several contributions to the ethics literature. First, the empirical assessment of an ethics model containing constructs that have received inadequate attention fills a gap in the literature. Second, the study found that (1) issue-related factors appear to be stronger predictors of ethical judgments than job attitudes and ethical context and (2) job attitudes and ethical context appear to be poor predictors of ethical judgments, which provides further insight into ethical decision making in organizations. And finally, the empirical analysis determined that individual, issue-related, and organizational factors might simultaneously influence ethical judgments in some contexts.

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