Mental Complexity and Ethical Decision-Making

Subject: Business Ethics
Pages: 2
Words: 575
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

It is important to note that mental complexity is of paramount relevance for ensuring a correct and appropriate ethical decision-making process. The evidence strongly supports the fact that the “complexity of respondents’ mental models was related to EDM, and that this relationship was mediated by sensemaking processes” (Bagdasarov et al., 2016, p. 133). In other words, there is a direct connection between one’s mental complexity reflected in his or her mental model and ethical decision-making.

Firstly, one should be aware that the fourth order of mental complexity plays a critical role in ensuring that decisions are made in an ethical manner. The given universal order revolves around the notion of practical wisdom, which manifests itself in the general universals and principles of phronesis (Bagdasarov et al., 2016). The moral strengths of the given mental complexity order are rooted in the notion of basing ethical decisions on the ideas of practicality and wisdom, where the considerations are made with comprehensive processing of all critical factors. In addition, it adheres to universal ideals, which are of paramount importance in regards to making ethical decisions making simpler and unmalleable. However, the key weakness is that it lacks specificity and views the issues on a grander scale, and thus, it minimizes the implications of the decisions.

Secondly, it should be noted that the mental complexity of the second order, which is a symbolic verbal order, is also of critical importance for ensuring the overall ethicality of the decision-making process. The given order of mental complexity is manifested in the notion of understanding through a concept of formal logical thinking in regards to the collection of intangible entities (Bagdasarov et al., 2016). In other words, its key strength can be found in ethical codes and rules, which require an understanding of the established principles and adherence to these verbal orders. Such an order is more direct and explicit, where an agent only requires a strong comprehension of the rules and directions, which eliminates excessive analysis of the implications. However, the main weakness of such an approach is the lack of abstract or dialectical thinking, which means that the established codes and rules need to put in place with a high level of precision and specificity of details.

Therefore, ethical decision-making as a whole depends on the formation of the culture of organizations, the culture of the leaders themselves, on entrepreneurial ethics, business etiquette, and many other elements that in general create such a concept as culture. In other words, such cultures can be regarded as collective reflections of mental complexities driving the forces and catalyzers behind the dynamics of organizations, which is the basic foundation of organizational culture, which reflects, first of all, the culture of society as a whole through values, ideals, religious symbols and beliefs, and traditions and customs.

At the same time, the organization creates its own culture, and in the process of producing material goods, not only services or corresponding goods are created, but also a unique cultural space, such as corresponding values, certain symbols, customs, and traditions. The ethical style of relationships within an organization, a firm, is developed by all its employees and depends on their joint efforts (Bagdasarov et al., 2016). An organization is a complex system consisting of various subsystems such as technological, administrative, and social. Culture in this approach is considered as one of the subsystems that perform the functions of adapting an enterprise to the environment and identifying its employees.


Bagdasarov, Z., Johnson, J. F., MacDougall, A. E., Steele, L. M., Connelly, S., & Mumford, M. D. (2016). Mental models and ethical decision making: The mediating role of sensemaking. Journal of Business Ethics, 138(1), 133–144.