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Beyond Moral Reasoning: A Review of Moral Identity Research and Its Implications for Business Ethics

  • Ruodan Shao, Karl Aquino and Dan Freeman

Moral identity has been touted as a foundation for understanding moral agency in organizations. The purpose of this article is to review the current state of knowledge regarding moral identity and highlight several promising avenues for advancing current understandings of moral actions in organizational contexts. The article begins with a brief overview of two distinct conceptual perspectives on moral identity—the character perspective and the social-cognitive perspective—that dominate extant literature. It then discusses varying approaches that have been taken in attempting to measure moral identity. The final two sections of the article review empirical findings regarding the antecedents and consequences of moral identity, respectively. Mechanisms and situational factors that are pertinent to moral agency in organizations are emphasized in both sections.

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Business Ethics Quarterly
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