Business Ethics Quarterly


Organizational Moral Values

Elizabeth D. Scott


This article argues that the important organizational values to study are organizational moral values. It identifies five moral values (honest communication, respect for property, respect for life, respect for religion, and justice), which allow parallel constructs at individual and organizational levels of analysis. It also identifies dimensions used in differentiating organizations’ moral values. These are the act, actor, person affected, intention, and expected result. Finally, the article addresses measurement issues associated with organizational moral values, proposing that content analysis is the appropriate measurement technique to be used for an organization-level conception of moral values.

ELIZABETH D. SCOTT is Assistant Professor of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations at Penn State. She received her A.B. from Brown, her M.B.A. from Georgia State, and her Ph.D. from the Wharton School of Penn. A human resources practitioner for thirteen years, she focuses on the ethics of human resources management. She has published articles in Business Ethics Quarterly, Business and Society, and Teaching Business Ethics. E-mail: