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Professional Ethics: Business Students' Perceptions

James R. Davis and Ralph E. Welton
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 10, No. 6 (Jun., 1991), pp. 451-463
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25072173
Page Count: 13
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Professional Ethics: Business Students' Perceptions
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Abstract

Professional ethics, a contemporary topic of conversation among business professionals, is discussed using the perceptions of college business students as the focal point. This research relates to the issues of college instruction in professional ethics, differences in perceptions of ethical behavior attributed to gender, and whether or not students' perceptions of ethical behavior can be modified. After presenting a review of the more important historical developments and research related to professional ethics, this paper focuses on the results of a study that compared a set of ethical responses of various groups of college students with each other. The results of hypotheses testing show an ethics maturation process from students' initial exposure to business courses through the graduate level. These tests also show that formal ethics training, i.e., a separate professional ethics course or unit is an existing course, is not a significant factor in this process. However, one may conclude that the students' perceptions of proper ethical behavior matures toward society's expectations during college life.

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