Seeing Through and Breaking Through: The Role of Perspective Taking in the Relationship Between Creativity and Moral Reasoning

Pamsy P. Hui, Warren C.K. Chiu, Elvy Pang, John Coombes, Doreen Y.P. Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Creativity and morality are key attributes that stakeholders demand of organizations. Accordingly, higher education institutions and professional training programs also seek to cultivate these attributes in future leaders. However, research has hitherto shown that, under certain conditions, creativity may conflict with morality. This complicates the development of creative individuals who are also moral. We examined the complex relationship between creativity and moral reasoning with data collected from a group of undergraduate students. By considering the cognitive processes behind creativity and moral reasoning, we propose perspective taking as a moderating factor. Specifically, we found that while creative individuals might not necessarily adopt a lower level of moral reasoning, there was a more nuanced moderating relationship among creativity, perspective taking, and moral reasoning. That is, individuals who were weak in perspective taking tended to adopt a lower level of moral reasoning if they were also creative. Perspective taking was also directly and positively associated with moral reasoning. We explore the implications of our findings for future research and curriculum/program design.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Creativity
  • Moral reasoning
  • Perspective taking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

Cite this