Volume 18, 2007
Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting
It is Better to Change the Context than the Individual
Kohlberg’s Teaching for Economic Morality
The question of the legitimacy of the business world has received more attention in recent years, often leading to a call to 'increase' the moral thinking of
economic actors. I argue however that the latter has not decreased. Relying on Kohlberg's model of moral development, I suggest that most actors still show a conventional level of moral thinking, i.e., abide by the standards prevailing in their environment. What has however changed are those standards. In consequence, I suggest that solving the actual legitimacy crisis requires a change of the norms of the business system, more than an increase of managers' morality. Leaders ready to set new standards and to develop alternative business research and teaching paradigms are needed.