The impact of moral exemplar training on moral judgment and decision-making in an operational context

Impact de l’instruction au moyen de modèles moraux sur le jugement moral et la prise de décisions dans un contexte opérationnel


  1. Thomson, M.H.
  2. Adams, B.D.
  3. Tario, C.D.
  4. Brown, A.L.
  5. Morton, A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
The changing battle space is significantly impacting the Canadian Forces’ (CF) operational concept. The moral domain has been identified as an increasingly important part of this. More than ever, equipping CF members at all ranks with the most effective means to make moral decisions in operations and to resolve moral and ethical dilemmas that arise is a critical priority. This study examined the impact of two different forms of moral instruction on moral reasoning discussed in the literature, namely principle-based and character-based education (Narvaez, 2006). Although ethics instruction has often involved description of formal ethical principles, there is a growing recognition in both the academic and the military domain that moral education should consider a virtue or character-based approach. Reserve force military personnel (n = 106) were recruited to participate in this study. Participants first filled in their demographic information and answered the Moral Identity questionnaire. They then read about a dilemma and answered questions measuring their moral judgement and ratings of the dilemmas. Participants were then given either principle-based or character-based moral instruction and answered questions assessing the relevance, comprehension and applicability to real life. Participants read the second dilemma and answered similar questions as the first. They participated in a focus group to understand what factors would influence a soldier’s moral and ethical decisi

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moral instruction;moral identity;moral reasoning
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2008-107 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Jul 2008
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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