Ethical perceptions of business students in a New Zealand university: do gender, age and work experience matter?

Business Ethics: A European Review 19 (1):95-111 (2009)
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Abstract

Ethical issues at the workplace have once again become topical and important due to considerable adverse publicity surrounding reports of unethical business practices by corporate managers. Accordingly, this paper re‐visits the question of whether gender, age and work experience do have an effect on ethical judgement, using 655 business students as respondents. This is necessary as business students are likely to become managers during their career and will face complex ethical concerns and dilemmas in their daily, routine affairs. The findings currently demonstrate that females are more ethically aware than their male counterparts – that is, there are differences between males and females regarding ethical judgement. There is also evidence to suggest that age is a factor that does impact on ethical judgement. However, we also found evidence to suggest that in some cases, the age factor does not necessarily have a significant impact on ethical awareness. The results further indicate that there is a difference in ethical judgement related to work experience. However, at the same time, in one question there is no evidence to suggest the claim that work experience does impact significantly on ethical judgement. Overall, it appears that ethical awareness does increase alongside work experience.

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