Application of Ethical Theories

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The role of ethical theories in ethical reasoning and behavior within organizations - Research proposal
Sigalit Pasternak, Phd student
The Faculty of Management
Tel Aviv University
Supervisor: Dr. Ishak Saporta

Business ethics is a specialized branch of ethics focusing on how moral standards apply to business organizations and behavior (Velasques, 1998). As such, it cannot be understood separately from the general ideas of ethics, and the general ethical theories apply to business ethics as well (Hunt & Vitell, 1986; Fritzsche & Becker, 1984;
Schumann, 2001; Lahdesnati, 2005). Normative ethical theory offers different moral theories, each prescribing a set of moral rules that individuals can apply in the process of deciding
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Finally, most of the empirical research on the connection between ethical theories and ethical reasoning is carried out in separation from research on the ethical decision-making process. Although there is a consensus as to the role of important individual and contextual components on ethical decision making within organizations (for review, see Kish – Gephart, Harrison and Trevino,
2010 Meta analysis), relatively little is known about the effect of these components on ethical reasoning within organizations. The third objective of this research is to explore the link between different individual and environmental factors and the application of different ethical theories in ethical reasoning.

The proposed research can generate a theoretical contribution to the literature on ethical decision making within organizations in several ways. First, the research attempts to resolve the differences in past research finding in regard to the role of ethical theories in ethical reasoning by examining the connection between the specific content and context of ethical dilemmas and the ethical rule or theory applied by individuals to explain their resolution. Secondly, it
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