The Application Of Kohlbergs Moral Development Model To College Students Technology Ethics Decisions

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Angelina I. T. Kiser
Eileen E. Morrison
Annette Craven


Ethics, Kohlberg, technology, moral development, reasoning, college students


This study examined undergraduate university students’ (n=121) responses to six ethical dilemmas within the realm of information technology (IT). Using a framework based on Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, the study evaluated the level of moral development as demonstrated in these responses. An apriori coding system was used to analyze the data. Two researchers independently assigned coding to the written responses in order to increase interrater reliability. The results are presented by student classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) and each individual scenario. They indicate a strong tendency for students to use the “good person” form of reasoning. This reasoning, however, did vary by scenario.


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