Introduction: Moral judgment is of critical importance in the work context because of its implicit or explicit omnipresence in a wide range of work-place practices. The moral aspects of actual behaviors, intentions, and consequences represent areas of deep preoccupation, as exemplified in current corporate social responsibility programs, yet there remain ongoing debates on the best understanding of how such aspects of morality (behaviors, intentions, and consequences) interact. The ADC Model of moral judgment integrates the theoretical insights of three major moral theories (virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism) into a single model, which explains how moral judgment occurs in parallel evaluation processes of three different components: the character of a person (Agent-component); their actions (Deed-component); and the consequences brought about in the situation (Consequences-component). The model offers the possibility of overcoming difficulties encountered by single or dual-component theories.

Methods: We designed a 2 × 2 × 2-between-subjects design vignette experiment with a Germany-wide sample of employed respondents (N = 1,349) to test this model.

Results: Results showed that the Deed-component affects willingness to cooperate in the work context, which is mediated via moral judgments. These effects also varied depending on the levels of the Agent- and Consequences-component.

Discussion: Thereby, the results exemplify the usefulness of the ADC Model in the work context by showing how the distinct components of morality affect moral judgment.


Sattler Sebastian, Dubljević Veljko, Racine Eric. Cooperative behavior in the workplace: Empirical evidence from the agent-deed-consequences model of moral judgment, Frontiers in Psychology, 2023, 13. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1064442.