Looking around and looking ahead: forecasting and moral intensity in ethical decision-making

Mark Fichtel, Yash Gujar, Chanda Sanders, Cory Higgs, Tristan McIntosh, Shane Connelly, Michael D. Mumford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior studies have examined the impacts of sensemaking processes, such as forecasting, on ethical decision making (EDM) but only a few have considered how aspects of the ethical issue itself, such as social consensus and magnitude of consequences, might interact with sensemaking processes to influence EDM. The present effort examines both forecasting and moral intensity, as well as their interactions, during the EDM process. Participants in this study were given an ethical scenario with either a high or low degree of social consensus as well as a greater or smaller magnitude of consequences. They were then asked to forecast either many or few potential outcomes stemming from their actions before coming up with a final plan of action. Responses were rated for quality of forecasting, use of metacognitive reasoning strategies, perceived moral intensity, and ethicality. Results indicate that social consensus may not be beneficial for EDM if the magnitude of consequences is low or individuals are not engaged in extensive forecasting. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-343
Number of pages18
JournalEthics and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Ethical decision-making
  • forecasting
  • moral intensity
  • sensemaking


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