, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 417-430
Date: 31 Mar 2007

Moral Issues and Gender Differences in Ethical Judgment using Reidenbach and Robin’s (1990) Multidimensional Ethics Scale: Implications in Teaching of Business Ethics

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Abstract

In this study, we examined moral issues and gender differences in ethical judgment using Reidenbach and Robin’s [Journal of Business Ethics 9 (1990) 639) multidimensional ethics scale (MES). A total of 340 undergraduate students were asked to provide ethical judgment by rating three moral issues in the MES labeled: ‚sales’, ‚auto’, and ‚retail’ using three ethics theories: moral equity, relativism, and contractualism. We found that female students’ ratings of ethical judgment were consistently higher than that of male students across two out of three moral issues examined (i.e., sales and retails) and ethics theories; providing support for Eagly’s [1987, Sex Differences in Social Behavior: A Social-role Interpretation. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, Hillsdale, NJ, England)] social role theory. After controlling for moral issues, women’s higher ratings of ethical judgment over men’s became statistically non-significant. Theoretical and practical implications based on the study’s findings are provided.

Nhung T. Nguyen, assistant professor of human resource management at Towson University, received her Ph.D. in management from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001. Her research focuses on the use of situational judgement and personality tests in personnel selection, ethics in management education, and the application of meta-analysis and structural equations modeling in organizational research. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Applied H.R.M. Research, and Journal of Applied Social Psychology among others.
M. Tom Basuray, Professor of Management at Towson University, received his Ph.D. in Business Administration in 1974 from University of Oklahoma. His research interests are in areas of organizational effectiveness, leadership and development. His articles have appeared in Journal of Organizational Change Management, Education & Psychological Measurement, International Journal of Management, Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, and Journal of Experiential Learning and Simulation. He has consulted with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Public Broadcasting Corporation, and various state and municipal government agencies both in Maryland and North Dakota.
William P.Smith, Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business and Economics at Towson University, received his Ph.D. in Business Administration from Arizona State University in 1982. His research interests include business ethics, privacy in the workplace and the role of social activism in corporate governance.
Donald Kopka, an Assistant Professor at Towson University, received his Ph.D., in International Business from George Washington University in 1995. He teaches Business Strategy, Management Principles, and Entrepreneurship and Small Business, and was Director of the Cornerstone-Professional Experience Program in the College of Business and Economics from 1999–2003. In 2004 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam where he taught entrepreneurship and business strategy, worked on curriculum development, and conducted ongoing research on supporting industries. Information on his Fulbright experience can be found at his website http://www.towson.edu/~kopka. His research interests include entrepreneurship, business development, and teaching pedagogy. He formerly ran a property management business, was a program manager at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines.
Donald N. McCulloh, Lecturer in Management at Towson University, received his M.S. degree in Financial Management from The George Washington Unversity in 1968. He teaches Management Principles and has also taught Leadership. He served as Vice President for Administration and Finance at Towson University until his retirement in 1997, since then he has been a full-time member of the Management faculty. He has also served in the United States Air Force, and worked in several manufacturing industries and the automotive industry. He was Executive Director of a non-profit community development corporation.