In Ethical Decision Making, Intuition Matters

54049_ASQ_v54n1_72ppiRGB_150pixWWhen reason and logic fail, can intuition and emotion provide better guidance? An article by Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto, published in Administrative Science Quarterly, reveals the importance of intuition in moral judgment, and warns that a rationalistic approach toward ethical decision making has some potential downsides:

With few exceptions, major theories in the field of organizational research consider ethical decision making as a conscious, intentional, and deliberative process (see Treviño, Weaver, and Reynolds, 2006, for a review). In contrast, recent advances in psychology provide a decidedly different picture of how individuals make choices, indicating that deliberative decision making can actually impair people’s ability to make ethical decisions in moral dilemmas (e.g., Damasio, 1994). To explore the possible ethical dangers of deliberative decision making, I conducted a series of three experiments to test the effects of approaching a moral dilemma as a deliberative, conscious decision, as opposed to being guided by intuitive reactions, on deception and then on charitable giving.

Click here to read the article, “The Ethical Dangers of Deliberative Decision Making,” in the March 2011 issue of Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ). Looking for additional research on the importance of emotion in organizational studies? Click here to access the ASQ Editor’s Choice Collection on Affect and Emotion, and follow this link to subscribe to e-alerts about new articles from the journal.

This entry was posted in Decision making, Editor's Choice, Ethics and tagged , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 900 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington DC, our publishing programme includes more than 560 journals and over 800 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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