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The influence of environmental practices on ethical attitudes: internal principles vs external factors

  • Chieh-Wen Sheng
  • Ming-Chia Chen
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    Purpose – This paper aims to examine the influence of individual internal principles and perceived external factors on the ethical attitudes toward environmental practices, on the part of Taiwanese environmental business managers. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis of 295 pretest samples, moral intensity on environmental issues was divided into “perception of environmental harm” and “perceived immediacy and stress”. Following this, a questionnaire survey of environmental managers from the top 1,000 enterprises was conducted with 203 valid samples analyzed by a structural equation model. Findings – The research findings demonstrated that moral intensity concerning environmental issues is not as significant as expected, and had less influence than environmental ethics. Assuming that part of the reason for this is that moral intensity is generally based on a viewpoint of teleology, the paper proposes some discussion and suggestions. Research limitations/implications – Some limitations existed during this research, especially in the data collection or analyzing process. However, besides teleology, there are many other viewpoints of moral philosophy. Practical implications – Environmental ethics is regarded as an internal principle, whereas the perceived moral intensity of managers on environmental issues is treated as an external factor. People's ethical decisions might be based on different views of moral philosophy such as teleology, deontology, or virtue ethics. Originality/value – Since there was no suitable questionnaire related to moral intensity on environmental issues in the past, the paper presents a new questionnaire which used exploratory factor analysis to allocate moral intensity concerning environmental issues into two components: “perception of environmental harm” and “perceived immediacy and stress”.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 510-521

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:4:p:510-521
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    1. Deborah Leitsch, 2006. "Using dimensions of moral intensity to predict ethical decision-making in accounting," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 135-149.
    2. Singhapakdi, Anusorn & Vitell, Scott J. & Kraft, Kenneth L., 1996. "Moral Intensity and Ethical Decision-Making of Marketing Professionals," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 245-255, July.
    3. Nigel Piercy & Nikala Lane, 2007. "Ethical and Moral Dilemmas Associated with Strategic Relationships between Business-to-Business Buyers and Sellers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 72(1), pages 87-102, April.
    4. David Wasieleski & Sefa Hayibor, 2008. "Breaking the Rules: Examining the Facilitation Effects of Moral Intensity Characteristics on the Recognition of Rule Violations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(1), pages 275-289, March.
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