The ethical attitudes of students as a function of age, sex and experience

Journal of Business Ethics 11 (12):961 - 979 (1992)
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Abstract

In this paper, we explore whether the ethical positions of students are firmly entrenched when they enter college, or do they change due to maturity, experience to ethical discussions in coursework, work experience, or a combination of factors. This study compared the ethical attitudes of freshmen and junior accounting majors, and graduate MBA students when confronted with two ethical dilemmas. Undergraduates were found to be more justice oriented than their MBA counterparts, who were more utilitarian in their ethical approach. While males tended to be more utilitarian, they were also more tentative and neutral in their responses. Females expressed more definite ethical positions than males when assessing specific ethical behaviors. Prior exposure to ethics via coursework or employment did not significantly affect ethical attitudes.

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