Title: The ethics of future business leaders: a cross-cultural comparison

Authors: Graham Elkin, Stuart King

Addresses: Department of Management, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, Otago 9054, New Zealand. ' Department of Management, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, Otago 9054, New Zealand

Abstract: Undergraduate students in general and business students in particular are the future leaders of both private and public corporations. To anticipate their future behaviour and to develop ideas about undergraduate business education, an understanding of student attitudes towards business ethics is needed. Attempts at developing universal business ethics are problematic due to major influence of culture and sub-culture on these attitudes. Attention can be more usefully focussed on pairs of countries. Our research examined attitudes towards business ethics among business students in the USA and New Zealand. We surveyed New Zealand undergraduate business students regarding their attitudes towards a number of statements about business ethics. These findings were compared to a survey conducted in the USA by Albaum and Peterson (2006) |Ethical attitudes of future business leaders: do they vary by gender and religiosity?|, Business and Society, Vol. 45, pp.300-321. Our survey findings generally reflected the literature that the USA and New Zealand business students, having similar cultural backgrounds, display a range of similar attitudes. However, we found that gender and religiosity have a greater influence on ethical attitudes in the USA than they do in New Zealand. We make some suggestions for ethics education.

Keywords: cultural differences; ethical attitudes; ethics education; gender differences; religiosity differences; undergraduate business students; culture; USA; NZ; United States; New Zealand; religion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEBR.2009.024303

International Journal of Economics and Business Research, 2009 Vol.1 No.3, pp.263 - 276

Available online: 31 Mar 2009 *

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