Business students' and practitioners' ethical decisions over time

Journal of Business Ethics 12 (11):835 - 847 (1993)
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Abstract

This paper compares the ethical decisions and attitudes of business students and practitioners. Recent unpublished data from a national study of over 1600 students are contrasted with information reported previously. Students are found consistently to make less ethical choices than practitioners, and there is some indication that students are making less ethical choices in the 1980s than in the 1960s. In addition, both students and practitioners agree that buyers should beware, view the role of business more narrowly, and find fewer incentives to behave ethically over time. Codes of ethics appear to be less influential than the individual''s strong personal value system and one''s superiors behaving ethically; support for codes is declining. The paper concludes with observations about the limitations and possibilities for survey research in this area drawing on other studies that used the same instrument utilized for this paper. Some implications for future research are suggested.

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