The business of ethics and gender

Journal of Business Ethics 64 (2):101 - 116 (2006)
Unethical decision-making behavior within organizations has received increasing attention over the past ten years. As a result, a plethora of studies have examined the relationship between gender and business ethics. However, these studies report conflicting results as to whether or not men and women differ with regards to business ethics. In this article, we propose that gender identity theory [Spence: 1993, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 64, 624–635], provides both the theory and empirical measures to explore the influence of psychological gender traits and gender-role attitudes on ethical perceptions of workplace behaviors. Statistical analyses of the data reveal that based on sex alone, no differences occur between men and women in their ethical perceptions. Yet, when a multidimensional approach to gender is applied, results show that expressive traits and egalitarian gender-role attitudes contribute to both men’s and women’s propensity to perceive unethical workplace behaviors as unethical. The implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are presented.
Keywords Business ethics  ethical perceptions  expressive traits  gender  gender identity theory  instrumental traits
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