Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Homogeneity of Moral Judgement? Apprentices solving business conflicts

Beck, Klaus
Heinrichs, Karin
Parche-Kawik, Kirsten
Volume: 28
Number: 4
Pages: 429 - 443
Month: August
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 1999
Abstract: In an ongoing longitudinal study, which started in 1994, we are examining the moral development of business apprentices (sensu Kohlberg). The focal point of this project is a critical analysis of Kohlberg''s thesis of homogeneity, according to which people should judge every moral issue from the point of view of their "modal" stage (i.e. the most frequently used stage of moral reasoning) regardless of any situation-specificity. Empirical data-even Kohlberg''s own-however, show that an individual''s judgements are usually spread around her/his modal stage. This is not necessarily due to measurement error but may also be interpreted as a situation-specific variation which could be described by the hypothesis of "moral segmentation". In this article we present results on the status of moral development of apprentices in the business context (within different types of situations). Contrary to Kohlberg''s theory, our results seem to support the hypothesis of segmentation. The data reflect a great amount of intra-individual variation unaccounted for by the concept of "structured wholeness".