Publication Date



{Excerpt} Moral courage is the strength to use ethical principles to do what one believes is right even though the result may not be to everyone’s liking or could occasion personal loss. In organizations, some of the hardest decisions have ethical stakes: it is everyday moral courage that sets an organization and its members apart.

Courage is the ability to confront danger, fear, intimidation, pain, or uncertainty. Physical courage is fortitude in the face of death (and its threat), hardship, or physical pain. Moral courage, the form the attribute nowadays refers to, is put simply the ability to act rightly in the face of discouragement or opposition,possibly and knowingly running the risk of adverse personal consequences. Springing from ethics—notably integrity, responsibility, compassion, and forgiveness—it is thequality of mind or spirit that enables a person to withstand danger, difficulty, or fear; persevere; and venture. Comprehensively—as said by Christopher Rate et al., it is awillful, intentional act, executed after mindful deliberation, involving objective substantial risk to the bearer, and primarily motivated to bring about a noble good or worthy enddespite, perhaps, the presence of the emotion of fear.


Suggested Citation

Serrat, O. (2010). Moral courage in organizations. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (