A Cognitive–Intuitionist Model of Moral Judgment

Journal of Business Ethics 126 (3):437-457 (2015)
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The study of moral decision-making presents to us two approaches for understanding such choices. The cognitive and the neurocognitive approaches postulate that reason and reasoning determines moral judgments. On the other hand, the intuitionist approaches postulate that automated intuitions mostly dominate moral judgments. There is a growing concern that neither of these approaches by itself captures all the key aspects of moral judgments. This paper draws on models from neurocognitive research and social-intuitionist research areas to propose an integrative cognitive–intuitive model of moral decision-making. The model suggests that moral decision-making includes five interdependent, yet functionally distinct steps, issue framing, pre-processing, moral judgment, moral reflection, and moral intent. The model proposes a cognitive–intuitive view of moral judgment and it describes how emotion regulation, perceived moral intensity, and perceived ethical climate constructs impact the formation of moral intent. The paper discusses the theories that link emotions to moral judgment and implications of the model for future research and its implication for managers.



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