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Moral Muteness

Frederick B. Bird and James A. Waters first elaborated the concept of moral muteness, including its meaning, causes, consequences, and remedies. Moral muteness occurs when managers demonstrate actions that are consistent with normative prescriptions for moral conduct but do so without the public use of moral language and without publicly acknowledging reliance on, or deference to, moral principles. Rather, when exhibiting behavior that they believe both is and ought to be moral, managers instead offer alternative plausible explanations or justifications for this behavior founded on pragmatic, economic, organizational, or other interests. Moral muteness has been contrasted with other forms of conduct through the four outcomes that can emerge when the presence or the absence of moral avowal occurs in the presence or the absence of ...

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