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Cognitive Moral Development in Ethical Decision-making

Business Ethics

ISBN: 978-1-78973-684-7, eISBN: 978-1-78973-683-0

Publication date: 7 June 2019


Cognitive moral development, often referred to as moral reasoning, stems from the field of cognitive developmental psychology and moral psychology. Early work done by Jean Piaget studying the cognitive abilities of children to make moral judgments as they grow and mature created the foundation for the later work of Lawrence Kohlberg and James Rest in studying the moral reasoning abilities of adults. Thus, moral reasoning refers to the cognitive process of how a person reasons about ethical situations. This chapter will present the evolution of the use and validity of cognitive moral development/moral reasoning in determining how individuals resolve ethical or moral dilemmas. Further, more recent models and potential measurement of moral reasoning and ethical decision-making including our intuition and emotions will be discussed and suggestions regarding directions for developing methods to measure such cognitive and emotional (or intuitive) means by which individuals make difficult moral choices will be discussed.



Elm, D.R. (2019), "Cognitive Moral Development in Ethical Decision-making", Business Ethics (Business and Society 360, Vol. 3), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 155-177.



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