We introduce the concept of moral beacons—individuals who are higher in moral character than their peers and prominent within their social environment—and examine the degree to which moral beacons increase the moral awareness of their peers. Using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) of data from personality questionnaires and social network surveys completed by graduate business students at two universities (N = 502), individuals classified as moral beacons received more nominations from their peers in end-of-class surveys as guides for moral thought and action. Using data from an in-class exercise conducted in pairs, we find that moral beacons, relative to other students, positively impacted the moral awareness of their exercise counterparts in a discussion of a difficult business case about possible lead poisoning of employees (but did not significantly change their counterparts’ moral awareness in a different case). Overall, these results provide promising initial evidence that moral beacons can be distinguished from their peers by both moral character and social prominence, and can act as guides for others, at times encouraging greater consideration of the moral aspects of situations and decisions. As these results are the first of their kind, we encourage further replication and investigations of moral beacons and moral influence in other settings.

Moral beacons: understanding moral character and moral influence

Iorio, Alessandro;
2024

Abstract

We introduce the concept of moral beacons—individuals who are higher in moral character than their peers and prominent within their social environment—and examine the degree to which moral beacons increase the moral awareness of their peers. Using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) of data from personality questionnaires and social network surveys completed by graduate business students at two universities (N = 502), individuals classified as moral beacons received more nominations from their peers in end-of-class surveys as guides for moral thought and action. Using data from an in-class exercise conducted in pairs, we find that moral beacons, relative to other students, positively impacted the moral awareness of their exercise counterparts in a discussion of a difficult business case about possible lead poisoning of employees (but did not significantly change their counterparts’ moral awareness in a different case). Overall, these results provide promising initial evidence that moral beacons can be distinguished from their peers by both moral character and social prominence, and can act as guides for others, at times encouraging greater consideration of the moral aspects of situations and decisions. As these results are the first of their kind, we encourage further replication and investigations of moral beacons and moral influence in other settings.
2024
2023
Helzer, Erik G.; Cohen, Taya R.; Kim, Yeonjeong; Iorio, Alessandro; Aven, Brandy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4057616
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