This study is focused on improving understanding around moral decision-making as a critical component of managerial decision-making, considering that many decisions involve a basic conflict between selfishness versus fairness (Forgas & Tan, 2013). Changing factors in the business environment is influencing managerial decision-making, making this ‘the perfect time’ for increased research into managerial decision-making (Milkman, Chugh, & Bazerman, 2009).
As this working environment within which managerial decisions are being made is changing, understanding decision-making is increasingly becoming fundamental to the study of management in organisations (Taggart et al., 1985). Within such a changing economy, the key factor is the increased reliance on intellectual abilities over either physical effort, or natural resources. Yet, ‘where there is effective management, that is, application of knowledge, we can always obtain the other resources’ (Drucker, 1993). When then considering such management actions and specifically the role of employees within such an economic structure, the primary deliverable of a knowledge worker is a good decision (Milkman et al., 2009).
The importance of a ‘good decision’ is therefore paramount in the current knowledge economy, and those industries which depend heavily on the ‘application of knowledge’. In exploring this topic, this research study explores predominantly four fields of study.
The first is decision-making in the most fundamental sense, by understanding the different systems whereby decision-making occurs. This is contextualised by focussing on managerial decision-making and highlighting a particular instance of moral decision-making. The premise is that although moral decision-making is a subset of managerial decision-making, the human processes involved in the decision making is universal and findings should accordingly be transferrable to the whole discipline of decision-making.
In expanding the area of moral decision-making the notion of fairness, norm violations and negative reciprocity is explored. This provides a context within which to study moral decision-making. Concepts such as the universal acceptance of fairness are discussed, as well as an equally universal desire to punish norm violations through negative reciprocity. Existing research on this disconnect between the intent to punish and the physical execution of this intent is explored with the conclusion that personality type offers some indication, but that additional research around this topic is required. It is in Moral decision-making: Personality Type as influence on Moral Intuitionism
addressing this weakness in current academic research that this research study aims to make a contribution.
The approach to this research is to do personality type assessments of voluntary subjects where after a moral decision is posed to them and their responses captured. By studying the relationship between these personality types, and traits, as well as the decision made inferences can be drawn on the extent to which personality type is an influence on moral decision-making.
Finally the environment of management consulting is introduced. This working environment exhibits many of the characteristics which define the knowledge economy.
The study concludes by answering the research question, ‘Is Personality Type, or its decomposed traits, an accurate predictor of moral decision-making’?, in the positive: Yes, there is statistically significant proof that a strong, linear relationship exists between moral decision-making, as defined by the decision to enact revenge, and the Sensing personality trait, as measured by the Jung Typology Test™.