Journal of Business Ethics 140 (1):17-42 (2017)

Abstract
We report the results of an experiment designed to determine the effects of psychological proximity—proxied by awareness of pain and friendship—on moral reasoning. Our study tests the hypotheses that a moral agent’s emphasis on justice decreases with proximity, while his/her emphasis on care increases. Our study further examines how personality, gender, and managerial status affect the importance of care and justice in moral reasoning. We find support for the main hypotheses. We also find that care should be split into two components, one related to protection and the other to the preservation of relationships. Although gender does not affect moral reasoning directly, we find that it does so indirectly via personality, controlling for age, professional status, and professional background. We do not find a significant effect of managerial status on ethics of justice, but do find that holding a managerial position has a negative impact on ethics of care. Regarding personality, we detect significant positive effects of conscientiousness on ethics of justice and of neuroticism on ethics of care.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-015-2635-z
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