Strategic and ethical decision-making in marketing: The influence of cognitive moral development and cognitive style



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Texas Tech University


Research in business and marketing has tended to view strategic decision-making as separate and distinct from ethical decision- making. However, all types of decisionmaking often require individuals to go through a similar process: recognizing that a decision needs to be made, identifying a set of alternatives, developing choice criteria, applying choice criteria, and making a decision. The similarity of the processes involved in strategic and ethical decision-making invite the question: Are some individuals just good (poor) at the decision-making process, regardless of the context? If so, what factors contribute to their decision-making ability?

Extant literature on strategic and ethical decision-making has focused on aspects of the decision task and decision situation that influence decision outcomes. However, there has been less emphasis placed on characteristics of decision-makers. This study focuses on two characteristics of decision-makers, cognitive moral development (CMD)and cognitive style (CS), and how they relate to decision-making in two decision contexts, strategic and ethical.

The findings of this study partially support the hypothesis that individuals higher in CMD make superior decisions. Individuals higher in CMD tend to make superior strategic decisions. However, no relationship was found between CMD and ethical decision-making within the context of this study. The hypotheses regarding CS were not all supported. While the results do not show any relationship between the dimensions of CS and strategic decision-making, there is evidence of a relationship between CS and ethical decision-making.



Strategic planning -- Research, Business ethics -- Study and teaching, Decision making -- Evaluation, Marketing -- Moral and ethical aspects