Volume 13, 2016
An Experimental Approach to the Evaluation of Business Ethics Training
Explaining Mixed Results and Implications for Future Designs of Business Ethics Training Programs
This article reports an experimental study aimed at evaluating the change of cognitive processes in ethical decision making before and after business ethics training. An experimental design (Solomon Four-Group Design) was used to test the effectiveness of the training within a German university undergraduate business-oriented student sample. The cognitive processes in decision making (implicit and explicit moral attitudes, selective attention, moral awareness, moral judgment, moral intention, and moral behavior) were measured by using different direct instruments (e.g. questionnaire items for moral judgments and explicit moral attitude scales) as well as indirect measures such as eye-tracking and the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The study yielded mixed results. On the one hand, significant changes in explicit attitudes, moral awareness, moral judgments, moral intention, and moral behavior in the pre-post-measurements of the training group have been revealed. On the other hand, there were no significant differences between the pre-post-measurements of the first training and control group as well as between the posttest-only-measures of the second training and control group. In addition, the implicit measures did not show any significant training effect. Implications with an emphasis on methodological aspects for future research on business ethics training are discussed.