Leadership, Ethics, and Trust, Financial Foundations Framework

What's Fair? Understanding Political Polarization with Moral Psychology

GFOA Research Report

How we decide what is just and fair is rooted in moral thinking. Different opinions on justice and fairness can stem from different values and how those values are applied. A leading theory in moral psychology is Moral Foundations Theory. This framework asserts that all people have the same six moral foundations (building blocks from which they form their moral worldview). We all have access to these foundations, but we build upon them in personalized ways and to different degrees, ultimately developing our personal moral values and viewpoints. When the finance officer understands differences in underlying value systems, it is easier to navigate the conflicts posed by political polarization.


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