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Adapting Kohlberg to Enhance the Assessment of Managers’ Moral Reasoning by James Weber

Introduction

The article offers a clear overview of the importance of assessing the morality of managers to enhance sound management in a working environment. The contemporary workplace appears replete with different challenges that require effective management. A manager in such a demanding environment tends to face challenges that often go beyond the walls of a workplace as well as into an interior landscape of a manager. Paradigm shaping perspective existing in manager’s ethical mooring is a vital factor since it shapes all events in a working environment. It may seem easy to determine individuals possessing moral qualities. However, it can be elusive since many individuals that appear to illustrate strong aspects of morality may be underperformers in their workplaces. Therefore, an increased understanding of moral reasoning by managers can enhance greater awareness of the influences of managerial decisions in case they are faced with ethical dilemmas. From a personal opinion, this article can be recommended since it recognizes that managers are faced with conflicts in terms of ethics and morals in their workplaces meaning that sound management of their moral reasoning is required. This paper explores and reviews the article demonstrating the measurement of moral reasoning according to Kohlberg.

Background Information

In attempts to have an understanding of people’s moral development as well as the corresponding articulation of diversity in moral reasoning, Kohlberg among other researchers made a series of phases in moral reasoning. They also developed an instrument along with a standard scoring method in order to measure an individual’s reasoning. These included a moral judgment interview and a standard-issue scoring method. The article can be evaluated in terms of the effectiveness of the model developed by Kohlberg among other researchers. It will also include any improvements or modifications done on the model in order to measure moral reasoning effectively. The objectives of the model will have to be examined in order to determine if they are associated with ensuring business ethics are observed, and most importantly, following the law. Moreover, the flexibility and consistency of the method should be evaluated. Flexibility comes in terms of use of a written or an oral interview while consistency refers to the maintenance of almost similar results from most respondents. There should also be a simpler and more reliable system of scoring results from managers and identifying all their moral reasoning.

Summary

The central idea of the article is the determination of the moral reasoning of managers in attempts to solve moral and ethical conflicts in workplaces. It is stated in the article, “One of the major impediments toward a better understanding of managers’ reasoning lies in the lack of available and appropriate methods to assess managers’ decision-making processes when confronted with ethical or moral dilemmas”. This is the reason that Kohlberg developed a method to address this. The authors also explain that understanding moral reasoning among managers is an effective way of determining factors that influence them to make certain decisions in workplaces. The instrument used by researchers has characteristics of assessing moral development. The article presents four necessary points in measuring moral reasoning. These include a combination of less familiar dilemmas and more familiar dilemmas in morality. It also includes a follow-up interview in the form of questions in order to probe the moral reasoning of managers by focusing on main organizational values. The other content of the method is flexibility in the utilization of oral or written interviews. Lastly, the model offers a simpler and more reliable system of measuring and scoring all responses by managers. These stages include pre-convectional level, convectional level, and post-convectional level. These levels ensure observation of business ethics and law in terms of orientation. The article provides all processes involved at every stage with several adaptations that managers take in an attempt to solve dilemmas in workplaces. It has been stated, “Various organizational values also appear to influence managers’ moral reasoning. Thus, great care should be exercised in considering the impact of these values through the use of carefully worded follow up probe questions during the interview”.

Evaluation

The article seems to be a good source of information on the manager’s moral reasoning having explained a model with stages used in moral reasoning. It also explains several adaptations in solving moral and ethical dilemmas in working environments. The central lesson of the article is that managers should use their moral reasoning effectively whenever they are faced with ethical and moral dilemmas. Therefore, it is normal for them to face such challenges in workplaces. The article achieves its goal of explaining moral reasoning through modification of a model and emphases on four points discussed. It also achieves its strength by ensuring consistency in values obtained during the scoring phase through empirical investigation. Moral judgment interviews are based on adaptation features developed by managers. However, the model has a weakness in that it consists of unnecessary characteristics that hinder assessment of moral decision-making by managers. This calls for further modification of the method. As people strive hard to become managers, they should learn on methods of solving their moral and ethical dilemmas and this starts from low levels in workplaces to high management levels.

Conclusion

To conclude, all results obtained from the research supported adaptations by the moral judgment are explained by Kohlberg’s model. Therefore, adaptations explained in this article can assist future researchers in determining and understanding moral reasoning by managers. This has been recognized in the article. The authors have recognized that little empirical research sought to understand reasoning processes that managers use in attempts to solve conflicts. Future modifications should be done in the method in order to incorporate certain other factors and group them in terms of internal and external factors that influence the moral reasoning of managers.

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