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Erschienen in: Journal of Business Ethics 1/2021

23.09.2019 | Original Paper

Emotions and Ethical Decision Making at Work: Organizational Norms, Emotional Dogs, and the Rational Tales They Tell Themselves and Others

verfasst von: Joseph McManus

Erschienen in: Journal of Business Ethics | Ausgabe 1/2021

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Abstract

Organizations have become essential institutions that facilitate the vital coordination and cooperation necessary to create value across societies. Recent research within moral psychology and behavioral ethics indicates that emotions play a pivotal role in promoting ethical decision making. The theory developed here maintains that most organizations retain norms that disfavor the experience and expression of many strong emotions while at work. This dynamic inhibits individual’s ability to generate moral intuitions and reason about ethical issues they encounter. This occurs as individuals utilize specific emotion regulation mechanisms that stifle the experience and expression of emotion in organizational decision making. Over time, individuals fail to register emotion within organizational decision processes, which increases the prevalence of amoral decision making. Organizational emotion norms also influence the chronic accessibility of specific moral foundations that effect the contents of both moral intuitions that do occur, as well as deliberate reasoning that generates moral judgments.
Fußnoten
1
Affect is distinct from, and broader than, emotion. Affective states reflect a combination of “attitudes, moods and emotions” that can influence judgment and actions (Gross 2010, p. 212). As Gross notes, attitudes represent more stable beliefs while moods are generalized feeling states that lack a specific target. Although attitudes and moods could also influence positive or negative affective states, the focus within this manuscript is on the specific impact of emotions in driving specific affective states that stimulate intuition. I am thankful to one of the anonymous reviewers for pointing out the need for clarity on this point.
 
2
I am again grateful to one of the anonymous reviewers and the editor of this manuscript for highlighting the significance of emotion within the CEST perspective and how it might relate to the model I develop here.
 
3
Thompson’s (2009) feeling of rightness represents a metacognitive experience or second-order judgment that assesses the extent to which another cognitive process has functioned properly. In this sense, the feeling of rightness is an additional feeling generated alongside an intuition that cues whether to engage more deliberate Type 2 reasoning. There is debate whether this metacognitive process itself is part of Type 1 or Type 2 processing, or whether it amounts to a third type of cognitive process (See Evans 2009). This question is also well beyond the scope of this paper. The key consideration for our purposes is that the intuition is accompanied by a confidence level that when sufficiently low, will trigger Type 2 reasoning.
 
4
Emotion’s role in moral awareness is consistent with an interpretation of emotional experience as a part of individual’s rational processing and thinking (de Sousa 1990). Along these lines, the influence of organizational norms implies that certain subjective emotional experiences are more objectively appropriate within the organizational setting than others. The key feature for the model is emotion’s signaling value (Damasio 1994). Here I take the position that neither intuition nor rational thought is per se better or worse, only that emotion is critical to drawing our attention to moral dimensions of issues as we derive intuitions and/or reflect more deeply on moral questions.
 
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Metadaten
Titel
Emotions and Ethical Decision Making at Work: Organizational Norms, Emotional Dogs, and the Rational Tales They Tell Themselves and Others
verfasst von
Joseph McManus
Publikationsdatum
23.09.2019
Verlag
Springer Netherlands
Erschienen in
Journal of Business Ethics / Ausgabe 1/2021
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04286-6

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