The Influence of Nationality and Gender on Ethical Sensitivity: An Application of the Issue-Contingent Model

Journal of Business Ethics 57 (2):139-159 (2005)
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When a member of an organization has to make a decision or act in a way that may benefit some stakeholders at the expense of others, ethical dilemmas may arise. This paper examines ethical sensitivity regarding the duties to clients and owners (principals), employees (agents), and responsibilities to society (third parties). Within this framework, ethical perceptions of male and female managers are compared between the U.S. and Turkey – two countries that differ on power distance as well as the individualism/collectivism dimensions. Our results show that ethical sensitivity varies depending upon whether the interests of principals, agents, or third parties are affected by a given ethical dilemma. We also find that, contingent upon the principal-agent–society relationships, the nationality and gender of the decision-maker influences ethical sensitivity.



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