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Article

Suparak Janjarasjit and Siew H. Chan

The purpose of this study is to examine whether users’ perceived moral affect explains the effect of perceived intensity of emotional distress on responsibility judgment…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine whether users’ perceived moral affect explains the effect of perceived intensity of emotional distress on responsibility judgment of a perpetrator and company, respectively, in an ill and good intention breach.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants completed a questionnaire containing items measuring their perceived intensity of emotional distress, perceived moral affect and responsibility judgment of a perpetrator and company, respectively.

Findings

The results support the mediating hypothesis on responsibility judgment of a perpetrator regardless of intention. The mediating hypothesis is also supported in an ill intention breach in responsibility judgment of a company. However, the mediating effect is not observed in a good intention breach when users assess a company’s responsibility.

Originality/value

The findings support the notion that users use the consequentialism approach when assessing a perpetrator’s responsibility because they focus on the victims’ emotional distress and discount a perpetrator’s intent, resulting in similar mediating effect of perceived moral affect in an ill and good intention breach. The results also indicate that perceived moral affect increases the negative effect of perceived intensity of emotional distress on responsibility judgment of a company, suggesting that users may exhibit empathetic feelings toward a company and perceive it as a victim of an ill intention breach. The lack of mediating effect in responsibility judgment of a company in a good intention breach may be attributed to the diminished effect of a perpetrator’s feelings of regret, sorrow, guilt and shame for causing emotional distress to the victims.

Details

Information & Computer Security, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4961

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Book part

Tara J. Shawver, Lynn H. Clements and John T. Sennetti

Moral intensity is the degree of feeling we have about the consequences of moral choices, similar, for example, to those perceived for crimes, from petty larceny to…

Abstract

Moral intensity is the degree of feeling we have about the consequences of moral choices, similar, for example, to those perceived for crimes, from petty larceny to murder. Moral intensity is thought to increase moral sensitivity and judgment. Because the accounting professions require members to respond to accounting fraud with more sensitivity and intensity, we examine this response in 220 professional accountants (mostly Certified Public Accountants) under a controlled experiment using two different cases. We examine the first three parts of the Rest (1986) model including ethical evaluation, judgment, and intention to act. We measure moral intensity in the accountant’s perception of overall harm and societal pressure. As in prior research, we find that the degree of moral intensity may be contextual. We find that the ethical evaluations may become affected by perceived overall harm, and whistleblowing intentions by perceived societal pressure. However, in both cases, the professional’s judgments are most affected by moral intensity. Consistent with prior research, whistleblowing intentions may involve many other mitigating variables, such as audit reporting or non-audit reporting limited by codes of conduct. These findings relate to the increasing attention paid by the SEC to finding accounting fraud.

This manuscript makes three important contributions to the existing literature. First, there are few studies in this area and Jones (1991) identifies that moral intensity is issue contingent; therefore, replication studies using different scenarios are needed. Second, Bailey, Scott, and Thoma (2010) have suggested that accounting ethics research has focused too narrowly on Component II of Rest’s Four-Component Model. None of the previous studies looked at all three steps in Rest’s Model; therefore, our manuscript provides an important contribution over the other previous studies. Third, our sample uses professionals and not students as surrogates for professionals.

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-666-9

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Derek W. Dalton

While Dalton and Radtke (2013) examine the effects of Machiavellianism and an organization's ethical environment within a low moral intensity setting, I examine the…

Abstract

While Dalton and Radtke (2013) examine the effects of Machiavellianism and an organization's ethical environment within a low moral intensity setting, I examine the effects of Machiavellianism and an organization's ethical environment across both low and high moral intensity settings. Using a sample of 192 MTurk workers (i.e., online labor pool participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk) and 127 undergraduate accounting students, the results using the full-sample of participants indicate the following: (1) Machiavellianism is negatively associated with whistle-blowing intentions across both low and high moral intensity scenarios; (2) an organization's ethical environment is positively associated with whistle-blowing intentions across both low and high moral intensity scenarios; and (3) in the low moral intensity scenario (but not the high moral intensity scenario), I find an interaction between Machiavellianism and the strength of the ethical environment. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Details

Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-013-9

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Article

Nancy K. Lankton, Charles Stivason and Anil Gurung

Organizational insiders play a critical role in protecting sensitive information. Prior research finds that moral beliefs influence compliance decisions. Yet, it is less…

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational insiders play a critical role in protecting sensitive information. Prior research finds that moral beliefs influence compliance decisions. Yet, it is less clear what factors influence moral beliefs and the conditions under which those factors have stronger/weaker effects. Using an ethical decision-making model and value congruence theory, this study aims to investigate how moral intensity and organizational criticality influence moral beliefs and intentions to perform information protection behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses were tested using a scenario-based survey of 216 organizational insiders. Two of the scenarios depict low criticality information security protection behaviors and two depict high criticality behaviors.

Findings

A major finding is that users rely more on perceived social consensus and magnitude of consequences when organizational criticality is low and on temporal immediacy and proximity when criticality is high. In addition, the moral intensity dimensions explain more variance in moral beliefs when organizational criticality is low.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited by its sample, which is organizational insiders at a mid-size university. It is also limited in that it only examined four of the six moral intensity dimensions.

Practical implications

The findings can guide management about which moral intensity dimensions are more important to focus on when remediating tone at the top and other leadership weaknesses relating to information security.

Originality/value

This study adds value by investigating the separate dimensions of moral intensity on information protection behaviors. It also is the first to examine moral intensity under conditions of low and high organizational criticality.

Details

Information & Computer Security, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4961

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Book part

Gary M. Fleischman, Sean Valentine and Don W. Finn

Ethical issues and moral reasoning are important in the tax policy context because shared moral values create good societies (Paul et al., 2006). This study of the…

Abstract

Ethical issues and moral reasoning are important in the tax policy context because shared moral values create good societies (Paul et al., 2006). This study of the equitable relief subset of the innocent spouse rules is a good example of Congressional and IRS policy that has been substantially reformed twice (and continues to be reassessed) to create tax law that effectively treats innocent spouses equitably (Fleischman & Shen, 1999). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the degree to which subjects' moral reasoning, using the first two steps of Rest's (1986) ethical reasoning model, is related to perceived moral intensity (Jones, 1991) in several tax-based equitable relief situations. Integrative social contracts theory provides the study's theoretical lens.

Subjects evaluated a mailed-questionnaire containing two separate equitable relief scenarios about a spouse who was unaware of her husband's tax evasion – one scenario included verbal abuse and the other scenario contained no such abuse. The survey also contained a variety of ethics and attitudinal measures used to measure the study's focal variables. The results support the a priori hypotheses that moral intensity is positively related to recognition of an ethical issue, judgment that the ethical scenario is unethical, and judgment to grant equitable relief. In addition, the scenario containing emotional abuse was associated with increased levels of moral intensity as compared to the scenario that did not contain abuse. The paper concludes with a discussion of both professional and public policy implications.

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-722-6

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Article

Chieh‐Wen Sheng and Ming‐Chia Chen

This paper aims to examine the influence of individual internal principles and perceived external factors on the ethical attitudes toward environmental practices, on the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the influence of individual internal principles and perceived external factors on the ethical attitudes toward environmental practices, on the part of Taiwanese environmental business managers.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis of 295 pretest samples, moral intensity on environmental issues was divided into “perception of environmental harm” and “perceived immediacy and stress”. Following this, a questionnaire survey of environmental managers from the top 1,000 enterprises was conducted with 203 valid samples analyzed by a structural equation model.

Findings

The research findings demonstrated that moral intensity concerning environmental issues is not as significant as expected, and had less influence than environmental ethics. Assuming that part of the reason for this is that moral intensity is generally based on a viewpoint of teleology, the paper proposes some discussion and suggestions.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations existed during this research, especially in the data collection or analyzing process. However, besides teleology, there are many other viewpoints of moral philosophy.

Practical implications

Environmental ethics is regarded as an internal principle, whereas the perceived moral intensity of managers on environmental issues is treated as an external factor. People's ethical decisions might be based on different views of moral philosophy such as teleology, deontology, or virtue ethics.

Originality/value

Since there was no suitable questionnaire related to moral intensity on environmental issues in the past, the paper presents a new questionnaire which used exploratory factor analysis to allocate moral intensity concerning environmental issues into two components: “perception of environmental harm” and “perceived immediacy and stress”.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article

Martha C. Andrews, Thomas Baker and Tammy G. Hunt

This study seeks to explore the relationship between corporate ethical values and person‐organization fit (P‐O fit) and the effects on organization commitment and job…

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to explore the relationship between corporate ethical values and person‐organization fit (P‐O fit) and the effects on organization commitment and job satisfaction. Further, it aims to examine the construct of moral intensity as a moderator of the P‐O fit‐commitment relationship as well as the P‐O fit‐job satisfaction relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 489 members of the National Purchasing Association in the USA, a structural model was examined in which it was hypothesized that corporate ethical values would be positively related to person‐organization fit and P‐O fit in turn would be positively related to commitment and job satisfaction. It was further hypothesized that the outcomes associated with P‐O fit would be moderated by moral intensity such that high moral intensity would strengthen the P‐O fit outcomes relationships.

Findings

All of the hypotheses were supported.

Research limitations/implications

All data stem from one data source, introducing the possibility of mono‐source bias. Additionally, all scales use self‐reports, introducing the possibility of mono‐method bias.

Practical implications

These results highlight the importance of corporate ethical values and moral intensity in building and maintaining an ethical and committed workforce.

Originality/value

The findings of this study contribute to the ethics and P‐O fit literature by establishing a link between corporate ethical values and P‐O fit. It further construes moral intensity as a subjective variable based on the perceiver rather than an objective characteristic of ethical issues. Moral intensity was found to strengthen the relationships between P‐O fit and satisfaction and P‐O fit and commitment.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Book part

Tara J. Shawver and Todd A. Shawver

This study uses several business situations to explore the impact of moral intensity on the identification of an ethical problem and reasons for making moral judgments for…

Abstract

This study uses several business situations to explore the impact of moral intensity on the identification of an ethical problem and reasons for making moral judgments for questionable ethical business dilemmas. This study asks 173 accounting students, those who will become our future professional accountants, to evaluate four situations involving product safety, sharing software, expensing personal items as business expenses, and manipulating earnings. The results of this study confirm beliefs that Jones’ (1991) model of moral intensity affects ethical evaluations and moral judgments. Accounting students appear to use the overall harm and societal pressure components of moral intensity when evaluating ethical dilemmas and making moral judgments.

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-845-7

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Article

Collins Sankay Oboh

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of personal and moral intensity variables on specific processes, namely, ethical recognition, ethical judgment and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of personal and moral intensity variables on specific processes, namely, ethical recognition, ethical judgment and ethical intention, involved in the ethical decision making (EDM) of accounting professionals.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured questionnaire containing four vignettes of ethical dilemmas is used in the paper to obtain data from 329 accounting professionals. The data are analyzed using Pearson correlation matrix, independent sample t-test, one-way analyses of variance and multiple regression estimation techniques.

Findings

The findings of the paper suggest that age, economic status, upbringing, moral idealism and relativism, magnitude of consequence and social consensus are significant determinants of the EDM process of accounting professionals.

Practical implications

The paper provides evidence to guide accounting regulatory bodies on ways to strengthen extant measures that ensure strict compliance with ethics codes among accounting professionals in Nigeria.

Originality/value

The paper provides support for Kohlberg’s cognitive reasoning and moral development theory and Rest’s EDM theoretical model, which will aid the development of a structured curriculum for accounting ethics instruction in Nigeria, as hitherto, there is yet to be a provision for a stand-alone ethics course in the undergraduate accounting programs in Nigeria.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

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Article

Lu-Ming Tseng

The purpose of this paper is to examine customers’ ethical attitudes (EA) and intentions toward two types of insurance frauds. This study proposes that the factors, such…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine customers’ ethical attitudes (EA) and intentions toward two types of insurance frauds. This study proposes that the factors, such as fraud types (i.e. opportunistic and planned insurance fraud), moral intensity and fairness perception (FP), can affect the customers’ acceptance of the insurance frauds.

Design/methodology/approach

To test the research hypotheses of this study, Taiwanese insurance customers are invited in the empirical investigation, and a scenario-based questionnaire is used to collect the data. The hypotheses of this study are tested by using a partial least squares regression.

Findings

The results show that moral intensity constructs and FP significantly relate to the respondents’ acceptance of insurance frauds, while fraud types also have significant impacts on the respondents’ perceptions of moral intensity and fairness.

Originality/value

There is no research which has examined the relationships among fraud types, moral intensity, FP, demographic variables and customers’ EA and intentions toward insurance frauds. Understanding the relationships among these variables could provide implications for those involved in the practice of anti-fraud programs.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 45 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

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