Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 96, Issue 4, pp 573–587

Effects of Nationality, Gender, and Religiosity on Business-Related Ethicality

  • Robert A. Peterson
  • Gerald Albaum
  • Dwight Merunka
  • Jose Luis Munuera
  • Scott M. Smith


Cross-national studies of business-related ethicality frequently have concluded that Americans possess higher ethical standards than non-Americans. These conclusions have generally been based on survey responses of relatively small convenience samples of individuals in a very limited number of countries. This article reports a study of the relationship between nationality and business-related ethicality based on survey responses from more than 6300 business students attending 120 colleges and universities in 36 countries. Two well-documented determinants of business ethics (gender and religiosity) were investigated as moderators of the nationality–business ethicality relationship. The major research finding is that, while statistically significant differences were found between the business-related ethicality of American survey participants and the business-related ethicality of the non-American survey participants, the magnitudes of the differences were not substantial. The results of the study suggest that (i) more empirical cross-cultural/national research is required on business-related ethicality and (ii) previous explanations for cross-cultural/national differences in ethics need to be reconsidered before further generalizations are warranted.

Key words

business ethics ethics attitudes future business leaders nationality differences gender differences religiosity differences 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Peterson
    • 1
  • Gerald Albaum
    • 2
  • Dwight Merunka
    • 3
  • Jose Luis Munuera
    • 4
  • Scott M. Smith
    • 5
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueU.S.A.
  3. 3.University of Aix-Marseille and Euromed ManagementAix en Provence and MarseilleFrance
  4. 4.University of MurciaMurciaSpain
  5. 5.Brigham Young UniversityProvoU.S.A.

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