Ethical Decision Making: A Process Influenced by Moral Intensity

Ethical Decision Making: A Process Influenced by Moral Intensity

images (1)Sarah Hope Lincoln, PhD (cand)Psychology Intern
VADM Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership United States Naval Academy,112 Cooper Road Annapolis,Maryland, 21402 Tel: (410) 293-6088 Fax: (410) 293-6081 Email:ekholmes@usna.edu
Elizabeth K. Holmes,PhD Director of Assessment
VADM Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership United States Naval Academy,
112 Cooper Road Annapolis,Maryland,21402
Tel:(410) 293-6088 Fax:(410) 293-6081
Abstract
Understanding the process in which individuals engage in ethical decision making and the factors influencing this process may be important for developing more effective ethics education and leader development programs.This study investigated three components of ethical decision making:moral awareness,moral judgment,and moral intention,and their relationship with five components of moral intensity:Social Consensus,Magnitude of Consequences,Temporal Immediacy,Proximity and Probability of Effect.The results suggest that as individuals face morally charged situations,their awareness of the moral dilemma,judgments about potential consequences,and intention to act are significantly affected by characteristics of the moral situation.
Introduction
Societies and institutions become more interested in analyzing what makes an ethical,effective leader as they suffer the effects of poor leadership and the resulting polarization and cynicism.How does one develop ethical, effective leaders?In the United States,the long tradition of professional military education and officer development can serve as an exemplar.The military’s emphasis on continuous development and focus on ethical decision making may offer an approach that can be adapted to other professions,including health care.Health care providers and researchers have to make ethical decisions all the time.

Ethical Decision Making: A Process Influenced by Moral Intensity

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