EMPIRICAL STUDY OF ETHICAL JUDGMENT
Fang, Y.Q., Nanyang Technological University and Chia, J., A*Star, Singapore and Mao, H., Shanghai Industrial University, China
Jones (1991) posited that ethical decisions are primarily contingent upon the characteristics of the issue at stake, and hence judgments of ethicality would involve a systematic evaluation of the moral intensity of the characteristics of the issue. Jones identified six dimensions of moral intensity: magnitude of consequence (MC), social consensus (SC), likelihood of effect (LE), temporal immediacy (TI), concentration of effect (CE), and proximity (PR). It was believed that these six dimensions collectively determine the intensity of a moral issue. This study investigated the effect of culture on the relative importance of moral intensity components in ethical judgment. Two hundreds and forty-five Singapore students and one hundred and sixty-seven Chinese students enrolled in undergraduate programs participated in the study. The results showed that, among the six dimensions, MC and SC, were found to be significant predictors to ethical judgment. In addition, two cultural values, Collectivism and Power Distance, were found to have direct impact on people's judgment. Furthermore, interactive effects between moral intensity dimensions and cultural values were found to be significant in some of the scenarios. This research also found Perceived Fairness (PF) affecting overall ethicality. In addition, the observer's relationship with the target (SJ-agent) and the consequence of the act on the target, as well as the interaction between the two variables also influenced one's perception of the ethicality of the act.