Article review: Adapting Kohlberg to enhance the assessment of managers' moral reasoning Introduction Morality or ethics is one of the rapidly disappearing subjects from this world. Organizational world is one area in which morality losses its prominence rapidly…
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James Weber in his article “Adapting Kohlberg to enhance the assessment of managers' moral reasoning”, published in the Business Ethics Quarterly. Volume 1 Issue 3 1991, analyses the adaptation of Lawrence Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview and Standard Issue Scoring method. Many researches have proved beyond doubt that modern managers are facing lot of moral and ethical dilemmas and conflicts in their workplace. However, little research has been done about the reasoning process through which modern managers resolve these conflicts. It is necessary to identify these reasoning processes through which modern managers settle moral conflicts. It will help us get more insights into the organizational activities in the current heavily competitive business world. This paper reviews Weber’s article to get more insights about the relevance of moral reasoning in the modern organizational world. Background Information This article was written in 1991. In other words, this article was published around two decades or 21 years before. Lots of changes happened in the organizational world during the last two decades. It should be noted that at the time of writing this article, globalization was in its initial or childish stage. Last 20 years witnessed huge changes in the business philosophies, strategies and management processes. Current business world is extremely globalized compared to the business world two decades before. So, it is not necessary that all the points mentioned in this article are relevant now also. Summary The adaptation of Kohlberg’s moral judgment interview emphasizes four points: (1) a mixture of less familiar and more familiar moral dilemmas, (2) follow up questions which probe managers' moral reasoning by focusing upon key organizational values, (3) the flexibility of utilizing either an oral or written interview method, and (4) a simpler, yet reliable, system for scoring the managers' responses and identifying their stage of moral reasoning. An empirical investigation found that each adaptation could enhance the assessment of managers' moral reasoning (Weber, 1991, p.293). Weber pointed out that Kohlberg's objective was to assess the development of an individual's moral reasoning from childhood to adulthood. In his opinion, this strategy is has lot of shortcomings in understanding managers' reasoning when confronted with an ethical or moral dilemma. He argued that the Kohlberg method must be modified to get more insights into the moral reasoning problems of modern managers (p.294). Kohlberg identified three levels of moral development; Preconventional Level:At this level, a person responds to notions of "right" or "wrong," especially when expressed in terms of consequences of action (punishment, rewards, exchange of favors), or in terms of imposition of physical power by those enunciating the rules Conventional Level:At this level, maintaining the expectations of the individual's family, group or nation is perceived as valuable. Postconventional Level: At this level, there is a clear effort to define moral values and principles which have validity and application apart from the authority of the groups and persons holding these principles (p.295-296) Weber pointed out that the first important adaptation of Kohlberg's method is the use of a combination of less familiar and more familiar moral dilemmas, the latter set in an organizational context, to elicit from the managers their stage of mo
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Weber, James. (1991). Adapting Kohlberg to Enhance the Assessment of Managers’ Moral Reasoning. Introduction In the article “Adapting Kohlberg to enhance the assessment of Managers’ Moral Reasoning”, James Weber presents a conceptual adaptation of Lawrence Kohlberg’s Standard Issue Scoring method and the Moral Judgment Interview emphasizing on the six stages of moral reasoning (Weber 294).
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