Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, HBS
hould a Catholic hospital abort a life-threatening pregnancy or let a pregnant woman die?
Should a religious employer allow his employees access to contraceptives or break with
healthcare legislation? People and organizations of faith often face moral decisions that
have significant consequences. Research in psychology found that religion is typically
associated with deontological judgment. Yet deontology consists of many principles, which
may, at times, conflict. In three studies, we design a conflict between moral principles and
find that the relationship between moral judgment and religiosity is more nuanced than
currently assumed. Studies 1 and 2 show that, while religious US Christians and Israeli Jews
are more likely to form deontological judgments, they divide between the deontological
principles of inaction and indirectness.
Barak-Corren, Netta, and Max Bazerman. "Is Saving Lives Your Task or God’s? Religiosity, Belief in God, and Moral Judgment." Judgment and Decision Making 12.3 (May 2017): 280-296.