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Truth, Consequences and Culture

In: Social Issues

Submitted By rnulan
Words 2768
Pages 12
SALTER, STEPHEN B, GUFFEY, DARLY M, & MCMILLIAN, JEFFERY J

JOURNAL OF BUSSINES ETHICS

INTRODUCTION

Many studies have noted differences in ethical judgments across individuals within organizations, industries, and countries. Such differences tend to become more pronounced and problematic when one enters the international arena, because members of different national cultures frequently apply different ethical standards and criteria This remains a vexing challenge for those engaged in international trade.

This gave us the opportunity to observe cross-cultural differences firsthand, using our own students as subjects. Initially, our data originated as a class exercise intended simply to motivate discussion. As is customary in marketing and business ethics classes, students were asked to read a printed scenario, to rate the ethics of the actor in the scenario, and to discuss justify their evaluations. The discussions revealed the ethical criteria applied by the students and the importance weightings they placed on each criterion. It was our observation of the pronounced differences evident across national groups that sparked our investigation into the sources of these differences. This study was also motivated by our curiosity concerning whether U.K students ethical evaluations would be similar to those of their North American counterparts (by merit of being Anglophones) or similar to their French counterparts (by merit of being European, an historically Catholic culture, ancestrally Gallic, etc.). As the pattern of differences began to emerge, our research agenda shifted from mere description to explanation of these interesting differences.

BACKGROUND & HYPOTHESES

Ethical judgment

According to prevailing theory, ethical judgments are presumed to precede and determine ethical actions (Hunt and...

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