Review of «Adapting Kohlberg to Enhance the Assessment of Managers’ Moral Reasoning» by James Weber


This write-up intends to review an article written by James Weber titled Adapting Kohlberg to Enhance the Assessment of Managers’ Moral Reasoning. The main areas that this essay will tackle include: the basis of the article, the main points presented in the article and a critical evaluation of the article with reference to how well the article achieves its goals, shortcomings, possibilities suggested by the article and conclude with the most convincing points.

In the article, Weber seeks to illustrate how to enhance Kohlberg’s Moral Judgment Interview and the Standard Issue Scoring Method by conducting an empirical study that uses four adaptations.

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The main purpose of the article was to illustrate that, there are other scientifically acceptable methods, which are, a modification of Kohlberg methods that can be utilized in the quest of enhancing the assessment of the level of moral reasoning for managers. Based on the evidence presented inform of discussions and sample interview questions, Weber was able to convince me on the applicability and generalization of his findings.

Background information

Conflict resolution in any organizational setting is an essential facet that ensures proper workplace relations, interactions and performance thus ensuring that organizational goals are met in due time.

Weber in this article strives to provide better ways of assessing the manager’s level of reasoning with reference as to how they deal with emerging conflicts in the workplace. In order to critically evaluate the applicability, generalization and the internal validity of Weber’s empirical research, I will evaluate the nature and scope of his literature review, sample size, data collection tools, data presentation and analysis and discussions.


Weber has justified the relevance of assessing the level of moral reasoning for managers by indicating that managers are continuously faced with substantial conflicting issues in the work place thus, the need to assess their level of ethical and moral reasoning in dealing with such issues (293).

Further, to justify for the need to come up with adaptation strategies that are relevant for assessing the moral reasoning for managers, Weber identifies the major shortcomings of Kohlberg instruments of moral assessment by indicating that, “Kohlberg’s objective was to assess the development of an individual’s moral reasoning from childhood to adult hood”, which is contrary to what Weber sort to assess (294).

Further, Weber has explained Kohlberg assertion of the reasoning development stages as proconvetional, conventional and postconventional. Weber explains that, according to Kohlberg method of assessing the level of moral reasoning, this stages are relevant in the sense that they present an individual’s reasoning from childhood through to adult hood in relation to the environment that the inhabit (295-296).

To test his hypothesis, Weber prescribes four adaptation strategies that build on Kohlberg’s methods. They include more moral dilemmas that are familiar to the client as opposed to familiar dilemmas, probe questions that expound on organizational values, written interviews, as opposed to oral interviews and a Standard Issue Scoring that is more particular on moral concepts (297-304).

Weber’s findings indicate that when the managers’ moral reasoning were assessed based on familiar dilemmas, and unfamiliar dilemmas, the responses assessed indicated that familiar dilemmas scores were low and, that they were better placed to assess the level of moral reasoning.

Results also indicate that more managers were willing to be interviewed through written interviews “97%” as opposed to the “50” response rate recorder for oral interviews (304). Further, the introduction of follow up questions that were related to organizational values was significant in evaluating the managers’ moral responses. Results also indicate that the inclusion of a Standard Issue Scoring tool that was centered on moral concept was insignificant (308).

Critical evaluation

The main agenda behind Weber’s article was to demonstrate that, there were other viable recognize scientific options other than the conventional Kohlberg moral reasoning assessment tools. Through a well though sample size for the two sets of interviews (oral and written), Weber was able to prove that more managers were inclined to written interviews as it took less time (304-305).

Further, the inclusion of the used interview questions (Appendix A) and the use of correlation analysis were tremendously important in this study in order to indicate the differences between Weber’s adapted methods and the original Kohlberg methods. Therefore, the article was able to achieve its goals.

The article suggests that, it is possible to come up with a Standard Issue Scoring method that is more competent than Kohlberg’s, by conducting more research on the tool.

He also suggests that, there is a possibility that, a researcher who uses his third adaptation (use of probe questions that focus on organization value) might not get the exact level of moral reasoning because, that adaptation requires careful considerations with reference to the type of questions asked (308).

Generally, the article indicates that, it is possible to use the four adaptations and arrive at a much better conclusion. The general format and presentation of the article was excellent; however, there were some minor shortcomings which included an extremely short literature review and a shallow discussion that had minimal comparison to other research findings on the same topic.


In conclusion, Weber’s article was exceptionally informative as it derived various convincing points such as it is possible to conduct better moral reasoning assessments for managers by using interviews in written form as opposed to oral interviews and using more familiar dilemmas as opposed to unfamiliar dilemmas. The article also acknowledges that, organizational values have a lot of bearing on how managers resolve conflicts and that a more consistent Standard Issue Scoring tool needs to be developed.

Works Cited

Weber, James. “Adapting Kohlberg to enhance the assessment of managers’ moral reasoning.” Business Ethics Quarterly 1.3 (1990): 293-318. Print.


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