, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 141-157
Date: 14 Oct 2009

Academic and Business Ethical Misconduct and Cultural Values: A Cross National Comparison

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Efforts to promote ethical behaviour in business and academic contexts have raised awareness of the need for an ethical orientation in business students. This study examines the similarities and differences between the personal values of Iranian and Australian business students and their attitudes to cheating behaviour in universities and unethical practices in business settings. Exploratory factory analysis provided support for three distinct ethics factors—serious academic ethical misconduct, minor academic ethical misconduct, and business ethical misconduct. Results reveal statistically significant differences between the two cultural groups for ethical (altruism/universalism) values, and for attitudes to serious academic misconduct. No differences were found between the two groups for attitudes to minor academic unethical practices or unethical business practices. Gender influenced responses where females were found to indicate higher levels of unacceptability of unethical practices in academic and business settings than males. This pilot study highlights the need for higher education institutions to develop and enforce policies and practices to publicise, encourage and reinforce higher awareness of the need for adhering to ethical behaviour in university studies as a necessary component of training business professionals.