Journal of Business Ethics 126 (4):591-602 (2015)

Although ethics instruction has become an accepted part of the business school curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, some scholars have questioned its effectiveness, and research results have been mixed. However, studies yield interesting results regarding certain factors that influence the ethicality of business students and may impact the effectiveness of business ethics instruction. One of these factors is gender. Using personal and business ethics scenarios, we examine the main and interactive effects of gender and business ethics education on moral judgment. We then analyze the relationships between gender and business ethics education on personal ethical perspectives. Our results indicate that women are generally more inclined to act ethically than men, but paradoxically women who have had business ethics instruction are less likely to respond ethically to business situations. In addition, men may be more responsive to business ethics education than women. Finally, women’s personal ethical orientations may become more relativistic after taking a business ethics class
Keywords Business ethics education  Gender  Moral judgment  Idealism and relativism  Business and personal scenarios
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-013-1973-y
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