Neuroscience of moral cognition and conation in organizations

Sean T. Hannah, David Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Behavioral ethics research in the field of management is burgeoning. While many advancements have been made, applying an organizational neuroscience approach to this area of research has the possibility of creating significant new theoretical, empirical, and practical contributions. We overview the major areas of behavioral ethics research concerning moral cognition and conation, and then we concentrate on existing neuroscience applications to moral cognition (moral awareness, moral judgment/reasoning, effects of moral emotions on moral reasoning, and ethical ideology). We also demonstrate the usefulness of neuroscience applications to organizational behavioral ethics research by summarizing a recent study on the neuroscience of ethical leadership. We close by recommending future research that applies neuroscience to topics such as moral development, group ethical judgments and group moral approbation, and moral conation (e.g., moral courage and moral identity). Our overall purpose is to encourage future neuroscience research on organizational behavioral ethics to supplement and/or complement existing psychological approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-255
Number of pages23
JournalMonographs in Leadership and Management
StatePublished - 2015


  • Default mode network
  • Emotions
  • Ethics
  • Moral cognition
  • Moral conation
  • Moral reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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