Ethical congruency of constituent groups

Journal of Business Ethics 14 (2):145 - 158 (1995)
Abstract
This research investigates the perceptions of five constituent groups of an accredited business school — their perceptions of others'' ethics, of their own ethics and ideal values, and of how business ethics can be improved. Self-described behavior from the constituent groups is quite similar, yet is decidedly different from that which respondents felt others would do. Undergraduate business students tended to have the lowest estimation of others'' ethics in addition to the least ethical self-described behavior compared with other constituent groups. All constituents were solidly in favor of improving ethics by developing principles of business ethics, requiring ethics courses in business schools and introducing industry codes of ethics. People are much more ethical than they are perceived to be. Knowing that others are more ethical may in turn cause other people to act more ethically. Similarly, believing that others are less ethical may encourage less ethical behavior.
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