In contrast to other well-known cognitive models of moral decision-making, social cognitive theory posits that individuals can disengage from their own moral standards thereby allowing themselves to commit immoral acts. While previous research largely supports the general premise of moral disengagement, we suggest that direct tests of moral disengagement processes and the commensurate diminished role of moral knowledge are conspicuously absent. In five studies, we use multiple methods to capture both knowledge of the immorality of an act and theorized in situ processes of moral disengagement. Ultimately, we find no evidence of the proposed processes associated with moral disengagement. Furthermore, our data suggests that moral knowledge is a key driver of moral behavior in everyday situations and is not easily set aside. We conclude by discussing the implications of this research for theory and practice.
|Number of pages
|Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
|Published - Mar 1 2014
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management