Moral issues and gender differences in ethical judgment using Reidenbach and Robin's (1990) multidimensional ethics scale: Implications in teaching of business ethics

In this study, we examined moral issues and gender differences in ethical judgment using Reidenbach and Robin’s [ Journal of Business Ethics 9 (1990) 639) multidimensional ethics scale (MES). A total of 340 undergraduate students were asked to provide ethical judgment by rating three moral issues in the MES labeled: ‚sales’, ‚auto’, and ‚retail’ using three ethics theories: moral equity, relativism, and contractualism. We found that female students’ ratings of ethical judgment were consistently higher than that of male students across two out of three moral issues examined (i.e., sales and retails) and ethics theories; providing support for Eagly’s [1987, Sex Differences in Social Behavior: A Social-role Interpretation . (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, Hillsdale, NJ, England)] social role theory. After controlling for moral issues, women’s higher ratings of ethical judgment over men’s became statistically non-significant. Theoretical and practical implications based on the study’s findings are provided.
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