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The role of moral intensity and moral philosophy in ethical decision making: a cross-cultural comparison of China and the European Union

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The present study uses cross-cultural samples of marketing practitioners from two European Union (EU) nations (the United Kingdom and Spain) and China to examine the relationships between moral intensity, personal moral philosophies and ethical decision making. Additionally, cross-cultural comparisons were made regarding intentions, personal moral philosophies and moral intensity. Results indicate that both samples tend to use the perceived harm construct (e.g. magnitude of consequences, probability of effect, temporal immediacy and concentration of effect) to determine intentions in situations involving ethical issues. However, social consensus tends to be situation-specific for both groups and proximity seems not to be used at all when making decisions in situations involving ethics. As for personal moral philosophies, idealism is only used by the EU sample; however, for both samples, the use of relativism depends upon the specific situation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Phil B. Hardin Professor of Marketing, School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi, MS, USA; 2: Marketing Doctoral Student, School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi, MS, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2008


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