Utilizing Rest's moral development and Victor and Cullen's ethical climate surveys, we examine differences in moral reasoning and ethical climate between board members in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Six for-profit corporations and seven not-for-profit corporations, all with base operations in a major midwestern state, participated in the study. We find that profit and not-for-profit boards may not differ in moral reasoning, but do exhibit different types of ethical climates. We also find that for-profit board members may utilize higher stages of reasoning a greater percentage of the time than not-for-profit directors. In contrast, the ethical climates of the two types of organizations are significantly different. For-profit companies had climates higher in egoism than did not-for-profit companies. In addition, not-for-profit firms reflected higher benevolence factors than for-profit firms. Not-forprofit organizations also had somewhat higher, but not significantly different, mean scores on the principle factor compared to the for-profit organizations.
Journal of Business Ethics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 9, 2004
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