Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



This study was originally completed in August, 2019 and uploaded to Scholarly Commons in March, 2022.


The everyday tensions of a person’s professional life present an array of conflicts of interest, which make it difficult for leaders to uphold their own moral values. Many argue that culture shapes behavior. But what aspects of human volition keep people morally straight? To answer this question, interviews with twenty business professionals who met a set of criteria that qualified them as moral exemplars were analyzed. The finding showed that when moral exemplars face a conflict of interest, they seek affirmation and clarity from relationships with people who share their values. In fact, these trusted relationships act as a “reinforcing mechanism,” reminding exemplars of their moral values when confronted with a difficult choice. Excellence is considered in the Aristotelian sense of developing a human’s best qualities to take action that serves the right ends. Additional findings indicate promising lines of future research.


business ethics, virtue ethics, moral identity, moral exemplars, moral salience, moral values, moral courage, virtuous relationships


Business Ethics, Virtuous Relationships, Moral Values



Date Posted: 30 March 2022