The price of morality. An analysis of personality, moral behaviour, and social rules in economic terms

T. Goessling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The focus of the present study was the rationality of moral behaviour and moral conviction. Assumptions like "morality pays" or "good ethics is good business" are not a priori right. Whether morality as personal conviction is also economically rational or not depends in large part on the institutional setting of a society and the likelihood that immoral behaviour will be sanctioned. The systematic approach to morality thus appears to be political economy and the institutional setting: rules and laws. However, the conditions for morality depend not only on the formal structures but also on the informal structures of rules and sanctions. Hence, the systematic approach to morality is most closely linked with the culture of a society; the efficiency of individual morality depends on social conditions. It is costly for individuals and societies to establish and entertain conditions that set clear incentives for moral behaviour. In this context, moral competencies, learning, and education play a crucial role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-131
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume45
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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