A1 Journal article (refereed)
Managers as Moral Leaders : Moral Identity Processes in the Context of Work (2021)

Huhtala, M., Fadjukoff, P., & Kroger, J. (2021). Managers as Moral Leaders : Moral Identity Processes in the Context of Work. Journal of Business Ethics, 172(4), 639-652. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04500-w

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Huhtala, Mari; Fadjukoff, Päivi; Kroger, Jane

Journal or series: Journal of Business Ethics

ISSN: 0167-4544

eISSN: 1573-0697

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 172

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 639-652

Publisher: Springer

Publication country: Netherlands

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04500-w

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-202004172807


This qualitative study explores how business leaders narrate their personal ways of recognizing, reasoning, and resolving moral conflicts and what these stories reveal about their moral identity processes within organizational contexts. Based on interviews with 25 business leaders, 4 moral identity statuses were identified: achievement (commitment to a personally meaningful moral value framework that had been established through a period of self-exploration), moratorium (self-exploration of one’s moral value framework that was ongoing), foreclosure (commitment to a given moral value framework that was present with little or no personal self-exploration), and diffusion (neither clear commitment to nor exploration of a personal moral value framework was present). The moral identity statuses were based on how leaders approached and interpreted moral conflicts and what the influence of the organizational context was in their moral decision-making processes. Some remained steadfast in adhering to their previous value commitments, while others tried to avoid taking any clear moral standpoint. Still others experienced moral conflicts as disequilibrating events that triggered reflective processes and developmental cycles of moral identity change. These moral identity statuses hold implications for facilitating moral identity development among business leaders in the context of work.

Keywords: moral psychology; identity (mental objects); managers and executives

Free keywords: moral identity; identity development; leaders

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-20-08 at 10:06