Moral courage in the workplace: moving to and from the desire and decision to act
Sekerka, Leslie E.
Bagozzi, Richard P.
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Why is moral courage in the workplace viewed as the unusual, rather than the norm? If we want to cultivate organizational environments that exhibit moral strength, we must consider how courage can be exercised in daily organizational life, as an action that can be achieved by everyone. To explore this notion, we see a need to develop additional understanding of how people determine whether or not they will act in a morally courageous way when faced with an ethical challenge. While existing theory sheds light on various aspects of ethical decision making, missing from the literature is an examination of how emotions, automatic responses to situational conditions, along with conscious and deliberative thought, work together to help guide this process. Yet to be fully explored are the internal factors and the social influences that accompany them, specifically those that contribute to forming the desire and decision to act with moral courage. We argue that scholarship designed to explain how this process unfolds will reshape our understanding of moral courage as an action open to self‐control, and thus can occur more frequently than the rare event it is often presumed to be. Our depiction of the organizational member's response to an ethical challenge helps take moral courage out of the extraordinary and into the realm of what can be achieved by most people, at least some of the time.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8608.2007.00484.x
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