Journal of Business Ethics 43 (1-2):89 - 102 (2003)

Ahmed Mohamed
University of Hertfordshire
Business relations rely on shared perceptions of what is acceptable/expected norms of behavior. Immense expansion in transnational business made rudimentary consensus on acceptable business practices across cultural boundaries particularly important. Nonetheless, as more and more nations with different cultural and historical experiences interact in the global economy, the potential for misunderstandings based on different expectations is magnified. Such misunderstandings emerge in a growing literature on "improper" business practices – articulated from a narrow cultural perspective. This paper reports an ongoing research on the cultural and contextual aspects of business ethics. The objective is to investigate how the perception/attitudes of business students towards the ethical dimension of doing business varies in different countries; Whether there are socio-cultural factors that influence the perception of ethicality in business practices. Research findings among business students in six countries: China, Egypt, Finland, Korea, Russia, and the U.S.A. are reported. While all groups had basic agreement on what constitutes ethical business practices, differences are found in the respondents'' tolerance to damage resulting from "unethical" behavior. Without underestimating the role of national culture, variations in research results also point to the importance of current socio-political developments in the relevant countries. Implications for business teaching and management development are discussed
Keywords business ethics  business education  China  economies in transition  Egypt  Finland  Republic of Korea  Russia  U.S.A
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1022915316112
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