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A Cross Cultural Comparison of Ethical Perspectives and Decision Approaches of Business Students: United States of America Versus New Zealand

Marilyn Okleshen and Richard Hoyt
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 15, No. 5 (May, 1996), pp. 537-549
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25072777
Page Count: 13
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A Cross Cultural Comparison of Ethical Perspectives and Decision Approaches of Business Students: United States of America Versus New Zealand
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Abstract

While differences do exist, there are many ethical issues which transcend national barriers. In order to contribute to the development of understanding of global ethics, this study documents the existing ethical perspectives of collegiate business students from two countries and identifies the determinants of their ethical orientations. A survey instrument was administered to USA and New Zealand (NZ) students enrolled in undergraduate business programs. The research instrument measured students' ethical perspectives across multilayered ethical domains and their self-professed decision method used in evaluating ethical scenarios. The results indicate that USA students were less tolerant than the NZ students of situations involving the ethical constructs of fraud, coercion and self-interest. Additionally, females are less tolerant than males in all ethical domains in both countries. Within the group of students who reported experience in an ethics course there was no significant difference in the ethical values of the USA and NZ students. The implication is that educational experience in an ethics course produces homogeneity and is beneficial towards obtaining cross cultural understanding and agreement in ethical values.

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