Article | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes | May 2013

Sweatshop Labor Is Wrong Unless the Shoes Are Cute: Cognition Can Both Hurt and Help Motivated Moral Reasoning

by Neeru Paharia, Kathleen Vohs and Rohit Deshpandé

Abstract

The present research investigated the dual role of cognition as either an enabler of moral reasoning or self-interested motivated reasoning for endorsing sweatshop labor. Experiment 1A showed motivated reasoning: participants were more likely to endorse the use of sweatshop labor when considering a Caribbean vacation with questionable labor practices for themselves than for their friends. Experiment 1B demonstrated that endorsement of sweatshop labor mediated the relationship between product desirability and purchase intention. Experiment 2 found that cognitive resources were recruited to enhance motivated reasoning regarding sweatshop labor, the latter of which was reduced under cognitive load. Experiments 3A and 3B found that when cognitive resources were specifically directed in a comparative joint evaluation, participants offered harsher views on the ethicality of a favored company, and were less influenced by motivated factors than when under separate evaluations.

Keywords: Moral Sensibility; Motivation and Incentives; Working Conditions; Cognition and Thinking;

Citation:

Paharia, Neeru, Kathleen Vohs, and Rohit Deshpandé. "Sweatshop Labor Is Wrong Unless the Shoes Are Cute: Cognition Can Both Hurt and Help Motivated Moral Reasoning." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 121, no. 1 (May 2013): 81–88.