Strengthening moral judgment: A moral identity-based leverage strategy in business ethics education

Cristina Neesham*, Jun Gu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we examine the relationship between appeal to self-perceptions of moral identity, included in the teaching of ethics, and the strengthening of moral judgment among postgraduate business students. As appeal to moral identity emphasizes personal engagement in the appraisal of an ethically charged situation, it addresses critiques of abstract rule application and principle transfer leveled at traditional business ethics teaching. Eighty-one participants (divided into experimental and control groups) completed a series of reflective writing exercises throughout a twelve-week business ethics unit. Based on an instrument completed at the beginning and end of the education process, our results indicate a positive shift in moral judgement intensity. We, therefore, recommend appeal to moral identity as a leverage strategy to be employed in business ethics education in order to strengthen students’ moral judgment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethics education innovation
  • Moral identity
  • Moral judgment
  • Moral psychology
  • Moral self-perception
  • Teaching business ethics


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