HCBE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Frank Cavico

Committee Member

Pedro F Pellet

Committee Member

Bahaudin Mujtaba


This dissertation tackles the ageless human debate of the body versus the soul. Based on Kohlbergian theory, the multidisciplinary literature review advances the proposition that moral development proceeds in waves of referential egoism leading to nonreferential altruism that is couched in power--the apple of the eye.

Many inter organizational studies using the Defining Issues Test have compared moral maturity levels coming from various academic backgrounds. Previous studies have purported that education is the chief moderating variable for moral maturity, with little regard for paradigmatic bases of power. Yet, in this study noncoercive power is carefully controlled because of the highly technical procurement process used in construction contracting. Coercive power and position in the food chain become the main moderators, because success is not measured by charm or wisdom or even social relations, but only by the low bid in accordance with the contractual specifications. The results from 93 respondents of the Iowa Architects Institute of America (n = 93) indicated that despite the higher education and aesthetic interests, the sample of architects ranked low on moral maturity level when compared to the average of the DIT data bank as a whole. Postconventional scores were 36.4 versus 39.1, respectively.

Few intra organizational studies have been conducted examining moral maturity levels among groups in the same work setting. This research also compared the moral maturity of intra industry groups in marketing dyads consisting of architects, contractors, and suppliers using the Defining Issues Test and ANOVA. Again it was expected that architects with higher education and aesthetic interests would rank highest. So in addition to the architects, the members of the Iowa Associated General Contractors and Iowa Associated Builders and Contractors were solicited. This added 32 contractors (n = 32) and 27 suppliers (n = 27), to the total sample (n = 153). Findings showed significant differences among the groups (F (2, 150) = 3.64, p = .05). Yet post hoc comparisons revealed that there was no significant difference in moral maturity levels between architects and contractors engrossed in the same power paradigm (p = 1.00). However, a significant difference existed between architects and suppliers (p =.024). This implication is consistent with the teleological pattern that is prevalent in research studies of salespeople. In summary, performance-based organizations and theorists of stakeholder theory may expect no less than orthodox and opportunistic choices in the real world of business as long as performance remains the ultimate criterion of success.

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