Journal of Business Ethics 170 (3):429-448 (2021)

The field of behavioral ethics has seen considerable growth over the last few decades. One of the most significant concerns facing this interdisciplinary field of research is the moral judgment-action gap. The moral judgment-action gap is the inconsistency people display when they know what is right but do what they know is wrong. Much of the research in the field of behavioral ethics is based on early work in moral psychology and American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s foundational cognitive model of moral development. However, Kohlberg’s model of moral development lacks a compelling explanation for the judgment-action gap. Yet, it continues to influence theory, research, teaching, and practice in business ethics today. As such, this paper presents a critical review and analysis of the pertinent literature. This paper also reviews modern theories of ethical decision making in business ethics. Gaps in our current understanding and directions for future research in behavioral business ethics are presented. By providing this important theoretical background information, targeted critical analysis, and directions for future research, this paper assists management scholars as they begin to seek a more unified approach, develop newer models of ethical decision making, and conduct business ethics research that examines the moral judgment-action gap.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-019-04351-0
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Moral Judgement of the Child.Jean Piaget - 1933 - Philosophy 8 (31):373-374.

View all 49 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Cognitive–Intuitionist Model of Moral Judgment.Adenekan Dedeke - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 126 (3):1-21.
Does Business Ethics Rest on a Mistake?John R. Boatright - 1999 - Business Ethics Quarterly 9 (4):583-591.
Ethical Sensitivity: A Foundation for Moral Judgment.Suzy Jagger - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics Education 8 (1):13-30.
Ethical Sensitivity: A Foundation for Moral Judgment.Suzy Jagger - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics Education 8 (1):13-30.
Exploring Business School Ethics.Johannes Brinkmann & Ken Peattie - 2005 - Journal of Business Ethics Education 2 (2):151-169.
The Development of Moral Imagination.Mark A. Seabright - 2000 - Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (4):845-884.


Added to PP index

Total views
19 ( #585,007 of 2,519,317 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #137,786 of 2,519,317 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes