Attitudes towards business ethics held by western australian students: A comparative study [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 11 (10):745 - 752 (1992)
Abstract
This paper is based on the findings of research into the attitudes towards business ethics of a group of business students in Western Australia. The questionnaire upon which the research was based was originally used by Preble and Reichel (1988) in an investigation they undertook into the attitudes towards business ethics held by two similar groups of United States and Israeli business students. The specific purpose of the current investigation was to administer the same questionnaire with one minor modification to: (1) two groups of Curtin University students; (2) a group of Asian students from the Australian Institute of Business and Technology (AIBT), a privately funded tertiary institution affiliated with Curtin University; and (3) a group of managers from the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), many of whom would not have been university graduates. The questionnaire was preceded by a profile inventory to establish the participant''s age, sex, occupation, course of study, whether or not they were born in Australia, their attitudes towards religion, and whether or not they saw themselves as ethically minded persons. In the original questionnaire, Preble and Reichel had asked the US and Israeli students to indicate on a five point scale, their attitudes towards a selection of business ethics situations by reflecting on thirty statements. In the replicate study, the means and standard deviations of each response of the four groups of Western Australian students were calculated and then compared with the means and standard deviations of the US and Israeli students. In summary, statistically significant differences in the scores of the original study were noted between nineteen out of thirty of the US and Israeli students in their attitudes towards business ethics. However, a closer examination and interpretation showed several of these differences to have little meaning. (p. 946) The purpose of this current study therefore, was to see if the Curtin, AIBT and AIM students'' results were statistically significant (different) to the US and Israeli student scores. The implications of understanding the way a selected group of business students in Western Australia react towards a range of ethical issues ought to have relevance for those involved in developing management education courses, particularly in view of the current economic and business climate. Studies into attitudes towards ethical issues in business have, as yet, received little attention in Australasia. This present study will hopefully lead to more thoughtful discussion of these issues.
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