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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ethical Decision-Making in the Domain of Whistle-Blowing: How Issue Characteristics Affect Judgments and Intentions


This study links the literatures on ethical decision-making and whistle-blowing to examine the effects of issue characteristics on the ethicality judgments and behavioral intentions of observers of organizational misconduct. Specifically, it investigates whether Moral Intensity, which has been found to influence a moral agent’s judgments and intentions, also influences an observer’s judgments and intentions to report acts deemed unethical. We find mixed support for Jones’s (1991) issue-contingent model, with some Moral Intensity components more influential than others and with distinct predictors for judgments and intentions. We also find evidence of a two-factor Moral Intensity construct.

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