An Analysis of the Factor Structure of Jones’ Moral Intensity Construct

Journal of Business Ethics 64 (4):381-404 (2006)
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Abstract

In 1991, Jones developed an issue-contingent model of ethical decision making in which moral intensity is posited to affect the four stages of Rest's 1986 model. Jones claimed that moral intensity, which is "the extent of issue-related moral imperative in a situation", consists of six characteristics: magnitude of consequences, social consensus, probability of effect, temporal immediacy, proximity, and concentration of effect. This article reports the findings of two studies that analyzed the factor structure of moral intensity, operationalized by a 12-item Perceived Moral Intensity Scale adapted from the work of Sing-hapakdi et al. [1996, Journal of Business Research, 36, 245-255] and Frey [2000, Journal of Business Ethics, 26, 181-195]. The two items that were purported to measure CE were dropped due to their inability to effectively tap into the characteristic proposed by Jones. Factor analyses of the remaining 10 items supported a 3-factor structure, with the MC, PE, and TI items loading on the first factor, the PX items loading on the second factor, and the SC items loading on the third factor. These factors were labeled: Probable Magnitude of Consequences, Proximity, and Social Consensus. The authors conclude that moral intensity consists of three characteristics, rather than the six posited by Jones.

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