Moral Intensity

Moral intensity is a construct related to the ethical decision-making process that was introduced by Thomas Jones in his seminal article titled “Ethical Decision Making by Individuals in Organizations: An Issue-Contingent Model” published in the Academy of Management Review in 1991. In the article, Jones suggests that ethical decision-making models not only should incorporate the impact of good or bad “apples,” meaning the individual characteristics of the decision maker, or the good or bad “barrels,” meaning the organizational or situational environment within which the individual is operating, but also should take into account the ethical issue itself.

Jones states that an ethical issue exists when a person’s actions, when freely performed (meaning they involve a choice), may harm or benefit others. Jones defines moral intensity as ...

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