Selected Joint Papers of Dean A. Shepherd
Chapter 4: “I CARE ABOUT NATURE, BUT . . .”: DISENGAGING VALUES IN ASSESSING OPPORTUNITIES THAT CAUSE HARM
AbstractSome managers and entrepreneurs decide to act in ways that result in harm to the natural environment, despite the fact that such actions violate their own values. Building on moral self regulation theory (Bandura, 1991), we propose that entrepreneurs’ assessments of the attractiveness of opportunities that harm the natural environment depend on the simultaneous impact of values and personal agency. By cognitively disengaging their pro-environmental values, decision makers (i.e., entrepreneurs) can (under certain circumstances) perceive opportunities that harm the environment as highly attractive and thus suitable for exploitation. The results of a judgment task that generated 1,264 opportunity assessments nested within 83 business founders offered support for this general prediction and indicated that the extent of founders’ disengagement of their pro-environmental values was stronger when they had high, rather than low, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and stronger when industry munificence was perceived as low rather than high. We discuss our new measure of moral disengagement in a decision-making context and the implications of the study’s findings for extant literatures on moral disengagement and sustainable entrepreneurship.
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