Kohlberg on Manager’s Moral Reasoning Assessment


In the given review, the mean to approach ethical issue in business are going to be discussed. By using the ideas from an interview with Kohlberg, one can suggest an entirely new approach towards introducing company’s moral values to the employees.

Background Information

Ethics in business has always been an issue. On the one hand, corporate values shape organizational behavior; on the other hand, business decisions often conflict with basic ethical rules. Weber’s Adapting Kohlberg to enhance the assessment of managers’ moral reasoning can provide the solution to this dilemma.


Since traditionally, the process of the establishment of corporate moral values does not go further than creating a list of basic rules that hardly anyone will be interested enough to read through, Kohlberg offers the method that will help not only make the employees aware about the current ethical code, but also convince them to follow it, therefore, changing the principles of employees’ way of thinking. Thus, Kohlberg’s key achievement concerns connecting the concept of organizational behavior with the company’s ethics.

The given article evaluates the efficiency of the Moral Judgment Interview and standard Issue Scoring method, both of which have been suggested by Kohlberg and are supposed to improve the quality of the managers’ performance by introducing them to the basic principles of the corporate ethics in a comparatively simple and yet efficient manner.

It is remarkable that the research includes several adaptation sections, which allow for modeling real-life situations, in which the theories provided by Kohlberg can be put into practice. Starting with a brief description of Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Reasoning, Weber moves on to defining and evaluating the key stages of implementation of the given model, which include the Preconventional, Conventional and Postconventional levels and show the process during which the perception of the basic moral principles and their practical implementation takes place.

Further on, Weber passes to the description and analysis of the key specifics of the Moral Judgment Interview and introduces the measurement instrument that Kohlberg suggests as the means to evaluate the managers’ compliance with the ethical code of conduct adopted by the company and approved by the corporate standards.

The empirical investigation is a next logical stage of the research conducted by Weber; indeed, after giving a detailed account of the theory suggested by Kohlberg, it is reasonable to consider the practical results and see how well the given model can fit into the realm of everyday business management routine.

Finally, the article provides a detailed account of the research results. As Weber admits, the attempt to adapt the Kohlberg’s Moral Judgment Interview to solve an actual managerial moral dilemma has been successful, which means that the given model can be applied to real-life management issues. As for the second result of the research, Weber came to the conclusion that it was crucial to make sure that the moral reasoning of the people involved into a moral dilemma in business setting should coincide with the corporate values. Finally, the research has shown that the abbreviated scoring guide provided by Kohlberg seems to be more efficient than a more comprehensive Standard Issue Scoring manual. Despite the minor issues concerning the way in which the suggested concepts work in specific business settings, it must be admitted that the strategy provided by Kohlberg works impeccably.


When it comes to evaluating the article, one must mention that Weber does a very good job by summarizing the key concepts coined by Kohlberg, as well as getting Kohlberg’s key messages across. Indeed, it is remarkable that the article provides a detailed overview of each of the two methods, outlining their key advantages and stressing the aspects that can be seen as questionable. Perhaps, one of the greatest strengths of the paper comes out in full blue when Weber actually addresses every single stage of the Moral Development theory, analyzing them on every level. The given section of the paper seems especially gripping, seeing how it allows taking a closer look at the specifics of people’s decision-making process. Analyzing every phase of the decision-making process, Weber adopts a very responsible approach.

Sadly, the paper also has its flaws, the main weakness being the lack of actual criticism of the theories in question. Instead of evaluating them from an objective point of view, Weber merely sums them up and outlines their specifics. To Weber’s credit, he manages to capture the essence of Kohlberg’s idea and represent it in a very efficient way; however, the fact that Weber succeeds in splitting both theories down to their basic elements does not compensate for the lack of actual analysis. It would be rather exciting to listed to the existing objections against Kohlberg’s theory; however, all Weber does is glorifying the provided approach.


Despite having some flaws, the article offers a very impressive model for the solution of ethical issues in business setting. By enhancing corporate values and allowing managers tie in their decisions with the basic moral code of the company, one will be able to achieve impressive results.

Reference List

Weber, J. (1991). Adapting Kohlberg to enhance the assessment of managers’ moral reasoning. Business Ethics Quarterly, 1(3), pp. 293–318.

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