Constructs and Measures
Elgar original reference
Edited by Bradley R. Agle, David W. Hart, Jeffery A. Thompson and Hilary M. Hendricks
Moral sensitivity has served as the conceptual starting point for most ethical decision-making models since James Rest (1986) placed it at the forefront of his four-component model of moral action. Yet, until recently, scholarly research on moral sensitivity has been largely overlooked and rarely empirically explored (Reynolds, 2006b). While explanations for the lack of research vary, the noticeable scholarly gap has recently spurred greater interest in the construct. As research into moral sensitivity and the cluster of constructs related to it has gathered momentum, scholars have called for greater precision and care in the discussion (Trevi-o, Weaver, and Reynolds, 2006). The need for greater precision and order for the construct is immediately seen in the naming of the construct itself. While even the most rigorous scholars have long used “moral” and “ethical” interchangeably (e.g., Bryant, 2009; Jones and Ryan, 1997; Trevi-o, 1986) with reasonable justification, the construct of moral/ethical sensitivity has suffered from misspecification and lack of definition clarity as scholars have interchangeably used terms such as “awareness” and “sensitivity” (Jordan, 2009). Kathryn Weaver (2007) notes that “ethical sensitivity has been used interchangeably with moral sensitivity, clinical sensitivity, moral perception, ethical perception, clinical perception, ethical intuition and moral or ethical sensibility” (p. 143). A construct sometimes regarded as the antithesis of awareness, moral disengagement, likewise appears in various forms and with various names. Interchangeable usage and, further, multiple definitions for each of these terms have clouded the constructs and led to a lack of clarity and precision within and across disciplines.