The Impact of Culture on Moral and Ethical Decision-Making: An Integrative Literature Review


  1. Thomson, M.H.
  2. Adams, B.D.
  3. Taylor, T.E.
  4. Sartori, J.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
Canadian Forces (CF) operations today occur within the Joint, Interagency, Multinational and Public (JIMP) framework. This shift has implications for moral and ethical decision-making (MEDM) in operations, in part, because of the potential for cultural differences to exert influence. As part of a multi-year program at Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Toronto investigating MEDM in an operational context, this report considers the impact of culture on MEDM. The first part of this report discusses the relevant theory and research related to the impact of cultural diversity on psychological processes, with particular attention to MEDM. Though there are a number of cultural dimensions for investigating cross-cultural differences, this report limited its scope by focusing primarily on the individualism/collectivism dimension, also understood as independent/interdependent self-construal. Research highlights cross-cultural differences in cognition, motivation, emotions, and behaviour. In general, people from non-Western cultures (collectivist or interdependent) pay greater attention to situational and contextual factors than people from Western cultures (individualist or independent), and this shapes how they see, think, and interact with their world. Cross-cultural differences impact MEDM in that they shape construals of moral obligations, judgments of accountability, attributions of responsibility, conceptions of agency, feelings of guilt, and ethical stances to confl

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culture, cultural awareness, cross cultural differences, individualism, collecti
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2007-168 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Jun 2007
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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