Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 489-493

Differences in ethical perceptions between male and female managers: Myth or reality?

  • Jeaneen M. KidwellAffiliated with
  • , Robert E. StevensAffiliated with
  • , Art L. BethkeAffiliated with

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This study sought to identify whether or not differences exist between the ethical decisions of male and female managers; and, if they do exist, to identify the areas in which differences occurred. An additional evaluation was conducted to determine how each perceived their counterpart would respond to the same ethical decision making situations.

Data were collected from 50 male managers and 50 female managers by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Distinctive demographic characteristics were noted among the segments.

The results showed only one area where a significant difference existed between males and females on what they considered to be ethical. However, there were significant differences in 16 out of 17 situations when they rated the ethical behavior of their male/female counterparts, i.e., males rated females as being significantly less ethical than themselves and vice versa.