Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 599–604 | Cite as

Gender and ethical orientation: A test of gender and occupational socialization theories

  • E. Sharon Mason
  • Peter E. Mudrack


Ethics and associated values influence not only managerial behavior but also managerial success (England and Lee, 1973). Gender socialization theory hypothesizes gender differences in ethics variables whether or not individuals are full time employees; occupational socialization hypothesizes gender similarity in employees. The conflicting hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from a sample of 308 individuals. Analysis of variance and hierarchical regression yielded unexpected results. Although no significant gender differences emerged in individuals lacking full time employment, significant differences existed between employed women and men, with women appearing “more ethical”. While occupational socialization predicts an interaction between employment status and gender, these group differences were opposite to those predicted. An implication for the two theories and the current conflicting research support is that these commonly used theories may be of limited usefulness. Some alternative concepts are proposed.


Gender Difference Full Time Socialization Theory Managerial Behavior Significant Gender Difference 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Sharon Mason
    • 1
  • Peter E. Mudrack
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of BusinessBrock UniversityCanada

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