Ethical decision making and the law

Journal of Business Ethics 26 (3):223 - 232 (2000)
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Abstract

This paper will examine the effects of gender, age, work experience, academic status and legality on certain ethical decisions. Six scenarios representing ethical dilemmas were presented to both undergraduate and MBA students in an attempt to determine if various demographic factors influenced ethical decision making. While some past studies have suggested that gender has an important effect on ethical decision making, this study does not completely support this conclusion and suggests that age and/or length of work experience should be included in any study of ethical decision making.The legality of the decisions was determined and compared to the reason given by the students for their decisions. In some cases the choice made by a majority of the students was not the one that was supported by the legal authorities which suggests that there may be conflicts between the ethical system of the respondents and the behavior expected of them by society.

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