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See no evil: moral sensitivity in the formulation of business problems

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This paper explores moral sensitivity in a learning perspective, and a framework is developed for the understanding of how moral sensitivity can be developed through reiterative problem solving in the face of diverse ethical problems. Factors that may inhibit the individual's ability to conceive of moral issues are discussed, and perspectives from moral psychology are integrated with theory on problem formulation. It is argued that (1) the individual's moral sensitivity is pivotal for ethical problem solving, because problem formulation is paramount for further reflection and behaviour; (2) ethical behaviour must be understood both (a) in terms of the individual's psychological make-up that determines psychological response to moral features and (b) in terms of external constraints on the individual's moral sensitivity; and (3) the development of moral sensitivity can be promoted by actively and consciously pursuing disciplined imagination in multi-perspective formulations of problems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen, Norway

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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