Decades of empirical and theoretical research has produced an extensive literature on the ethical judgments construct. Given its importance to understanding people’s ethical choices, future research should explore the psychological processes that produce ethical judgments. In this paper, the authors discuss two steps needed to advance this effort. First, they note that the business ethics literature lacks a single, generally accepted definition of ethical judgments. After reviewing several extant definitions, the authors offer a definition of the construct and discuss its advantages. Second, future ethical judgment research would benefit from greater integration between theories of ethical decision making and theories of social cognition. Drawing upon the Hunt–Vitell (Journal of Macromarketing 6(Spring), 5–15, 1986; In: N. C. Smith and J. A. Quelch (eds.), Ethics in Marketing. Irwin, Homewood, IL, pp. 775–784, 1992) model and the heuristic-systematic model (Chaiken, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39(November), 752–766, 1980), the authors present a brief research agenda intended to stimulate research on the psychological processes behind ethical judgments.
- Ethical judgments,
- Research agenda
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