Research from UCD College of Business reveals that conservatives exhibit lower acceptance of new technology due to a stronger adherence to traditional moral values, contrasting with liberals who prioritise individualising moral foundations, thus showing greater acceptance.

Conservatives tend to prioritise binding moral foundations, encompassing values such as in-group loyalty, deference to authority, and purity, including concerns about contamination, respect for traditions, and patriotism. Innovations like mRNA vaccines or lab-grown meats often challenge these established norms, leading to conservative resistance.

Dr. Marius Claudy, Associate Professor of Marketing at UCD College of Business, notes, “Innovations perceived as impure or disruptive to social order face greater opposition from politically conservative individuals.” Climate technologies, for instance, evoke apprehension due to their potential to disrupt traditional industries and social cohesion. Similarly, lab-grown meats are often viewed as unnatural and impure, prompting rejection from conservatives.

Bridging Political Divides in Tech Acceptance

While both conservatives and liberals value individualising foundations, aiming to minimise harm and promote fairness and justice, policies surrounding new technologies typically focus on harm reduction for individuals and society at large.

Dr. Claudy and his team conducted three studies to explore how political ideology shapes moral judgments and technology acceptance. Findings revealed conservatives exhibited lower acceptance of tech innovations due to differing moral foundations. Conservative-leaning outlets were also more likely to express negative sentiments about innovations like CRISPR gene editing.

Understanding how morals influence perceptions of innovations is crucial for managers and policymakers. By aligning technological advancements with binding moral values, such as organisational integrity and cultural enhancement, acceptance among conservatives can be enhanced. This insight enables innovators and policymakers to address societal concerns and develop technologies responsibly, particularly those deemed morally contentious, like genetically modified foods or renewable energies.

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