Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 123, Issue 2, pp 221–233 | Cite as

Are Workers More Likely to be Deviant than Managers? A Cross-National Analysis

  • Chung-wen ChenEmail author
Article

Abstract

Using Robert Merton’s perspective on social structure [Social theory and structure. Free Press, New York, 1968], this study tested the individual-level association between job position and ethical reasoning. Anomie theory was employed to examine how country-level factors moderate that individual-level association. The hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) method was used to analyze 22,359 subjects from 28 nations. The statistical results proved that workers are more likely to justify ethically suspect behaviors, and that this individual-level relationship is moderated by the country-level factors of power distance, masculinity, social inequality, and education accessibility. These results imply that Merton’s view of social structure and contemporary anomie theorists’ perspective of anomie [Messner and Rosenfeld (Crime and the American dream. Wadsworth, Belmont, 2001); Rosenfeld and Messner (The future of anomie theory. Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1997)] are mutually complementary rather than exclusive.

Keywords

Anomie theory Ethical reasoning Hierarchical linear modeling Job position Social structure 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture that provided financial assistance for the paper presentation at 2012 AAOM.

References

  1. Andersen, R., & Van de Werfhorst, H. G. (2010). Education and occupational status in 14 countries: The role of educational institutions and labour market coordination. The British Journal of Sociology, 61(2), 336–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, G. S. (1993). Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education. Chicago: Chicago University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergh, J. (2006). Gender attitudes and modernization processes. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 19(1), 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernburg, J. G. (2002). Anomie, social change and crime. A theoretical examination of institutional anomie theory. The British Journal of Criminology, 42(4), 729–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bjerregaard, B., & Cochran, J. K. (2008). Cross-national test of institutional anomie theory: Do the strength of other social institutions mediate or moderate the effects of economy on the rate of crime? Western Criminology Review, 9(1), 31–48.Google Scholar
  6. Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (2002). Hierarchical linear models. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Chamlin, M. B., & Cochran, J. K. (1995). Assessing Messner and Rosenfeld’s institutional anomie theory: A partial test. Criminology, 33(3), 411–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 9(2), 233–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chui, A. C. W., & Kwok, C. C. Y. (2008). National culture and life insurance consumption. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(1), 88–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clinard, M. (1983). Corporate ethics and crime. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  11. Cullen, J. B., Parboteeah, K. P., & Hoegl, M. (2004). Cross-national differences in managers’ willingness to justify ethically suspect behavior: A test of institutional anomie theory. Academy of Management Journal, 47(3), 411–421.Google Scholar
  12. Davis, A. L., & Rothstein, H. R. (2006). The effects of the perceived behavioral integrity of managers on employee attitudes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 67(4), 407–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis, J. H., & Ruhe, J. A. (2003). Perceptions of country corruption: Antecedents and outcomes. Journal of Business Ethics, 43(4), 275–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deshpande, S. P. (1997). Managers’ perception of proper ethical conduct: The effect of sex, age, and level of education. Journal of Business Ethics, 16(1), 79–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Durkheim, E. (1966). Suicide: A study in sociology. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  16. Enz, C. A. (1986). New directions for cross-cultural studies: Linking organizational and societal culture. In R. N. Farmer (Ed.), Advances in international comparative management (pp. 173–189). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  17. Fleischman, G., & Valentine, S. (2003). Professionals’ tax liability and ethical evaluations in equitable relief innocent spouse case. Journal of Business Ethics, 42(1), 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ford, D. P., Connelly, C. E., & Meister, D. B. (2003). Information systems research and Hofstede’s cultures consequences: An uneasy and incomplete partnership. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 50(1), 8–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Forte, A. (2004). Antecedents of managers moral reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics, 51(4), 315–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gerhart, B., & Rynes, S. L. (2003). Compensation: Theory, evidence, and strategic implications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  21. Hofstede, G. (1997). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  22. Hofstede, G. (2001). Cultures consequences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Hofstede, G. (2010). The GLOBE debate: Back to relevance. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(8), 1339–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Holftreter, K. (2005). Is occupational fraud “typical” white-collar crime? A comparison of individual and organizational characteristics. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33(4), 353–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 cultures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Husted, B. W. (1999). Wealth, culture, and corruption. Journal of International Business Studies, 30(2), 339–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Husted, B. W. (2000). The impact of national culture on software piracy. Journal of Business Ethics, 26(3), 197–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Husted, B. W. (2005). Culture and ecology: A cross-national study of the determinants of environmental sustainability. Management International Review, 45(3), 349–371.Google Scholar
  29. Husted, B. W., & Allen, D. B. (2008). Toward a model of cross-cultural business ethics: The impact of individualism and collectivism on the ethical decision-making process. Journal of Business Ethics, 82(2), 293–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ibrahim, N., Angelidis, J., & Tomic, I. M. (2009). Managers’ attitudes toward codes of ethics: Are there gender differences? Journal of Business Ethics, 90(3), 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kanagaretnam, K., Lim, C. Y., & Lobo, G. J. (2011). Effects of national culture on earnings quality of banks. Journal of International Business Studies, 42(6), 853–874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kanter, D. L., & Mirvis, P. H. (1989). The cynical Americans: Living and working in an age of discontent and disillusion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  33. Kerbo, H. R. (1983). Social stratification and inequality: Class conflict in the United States. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Khatri, N., Tsang, E. W., & Begley, T. M. (2006). Cronyism: A cross-cultural analysis. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(1), 61–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kohn, M. L., Slomczynski, K. M., Janicka, K., Khmelko, V., et al. (1997). Social structure and personality under conditions of radical change: A comparative analysis of Poland and Ukraine. American Sociological Review, 62(4), 614–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Laczniak, G. (1993). Marketing ethics: Onward toward greater expectations. Journal of Public Policy and marketing, 12(1), 91–96.Google Scholar
  37. Lam, K. C., & Hung, B. W. (2005). Ethics, income and religion. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(3), 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Little, T. D. (1997). Mean and convariances structures (MACS) analysis of cross-cultural data: Practical and theoretical issues. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 32(1), 53–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Longenecker, J. K., McKinney, J. A., & Moore, C. W. (1989). Ethics in small business. Journal of Small Business Management, 27(1), 27–30.Google Scholar
  40. Luke, D. (2004). Multilevel modeling. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  41. Man, D. C., & Lam, S. S. K. (2003). The effects of job complexity and autonomy on cohesiveness in collectivistic and individualistic work groups: A cross-cultural analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24(8), 979–1001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Martin, K. D., Cullen, J. B., Johnson, J. L., & Parboteeah, K. P. (2007). Deciding to bribe: A cross-level analysis of firm and home country influences on bribery activity. Academy of Management Journal, 50(6), 1401–1422.Google Scholar
  43. McSweeney, B. (2002). Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: A triumph of faith—A failure of analysis. Human Relations, 55(1), 89–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and structure. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  45. Messner, S. F., & Rosenfeld, R. (2001). Crime and the American dream. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  46. Messner, S. F., & Rosenfeld, R. (2009). Institutional anomie theory: A macro-sociological explanation of crime. In A. J. L. Krohn & G. P. Hall (Eds.), Handbook on crime and deviance (pp. 209–223). New York: Springer Science Business Media.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meyer, J. W. (1977). The effects of education as an institution. American Journal of Sociology, 83(1), 55–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mujtaba, B. G., Tajaddini, R., & Chen, L. Y. (2011). Business ethics perceptions of public and private sector Iranians. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(3), 433–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nwachukwu, S. L. S., & Vitell, S. J. (1997). The influence of corporate culture on managerial ethical judgments. Journal of Business Ethics, 16(8), 757–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. O’Fallon, M. J., & Butterfield, K. D. (2005). A review of the empirical ethical decision-making literature: 1996–2003. Journal of Business Ethics, 59(4), 375–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Olsen, M. E. (1991). Societal dynamics: Exploring macrosociology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  52. Oyserman, D., Coon, H. M., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 128(1), 3–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Parboteeah, K. P., Addae, H. M., & Cullen, J. B. (2012). Propensity to support sustainability initiatives: A cross-national model. Journal of Business Ethics, 105(3), 403–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Parboteeah, P. K., Bronson, J. W., & Cullen, J. B. (2005). Does national culture affect willingness to justify ethically suspect behaviors? International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 5(2), 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Parboteeah, P. K., & Cullen, J. B. (2003). Social institutions and work centrality: Explorations beyond national culture. Organization Science, 14(2), 137–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Parboteeah, K. P., Hoegl, M., & Cullen, J. B. (2008). Managers’ gender role attitudes: A country institutional profile approach. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(5), 795–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Posner, B., & Schmidt, W. (1992). Values and the American manager: An update updated. California Management Review, 25(3), 80–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ralston, D. A., Egri, C. P., de la Garze-Carranza, M. T., Ramburuth, P., et al. (2009). Ethical preference for influence superiors: A 41-society study. Journal of International Business Studies, 40(6), 1022–1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rosenfeld, R., & Messner, S. F. (1997). Markets, morality, and an institutional anomie theory of crime. In N. Passas & R. Agnew (Eds.), The future of anomie theory (pp. 207–224). Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Savolainen, J. (2000). Inequality, welfare state, and homicide: Further support for the institutional anomie theory. Criminology, 38, 1021–1042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Serwinek, P. J. (1992). Demographic and related differences in ethical views among small business. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(7), 555–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Simpson, B. P. (2009). Wealth and income inequality: An economic and ethical analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(4), 525–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Singhapakdi, A., Salyachivin, S., Virakul, B., & Veerayangkur, V. (2000). Some important factors underlying ethical making of managers in Thailand. Journal of Business Ethics, 27(3), 271–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Siu, N. Y. M., & Lam, K. C. J. (2009). A comparative study of ethical perceptions of managers and non-managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith, P. B. (2006). When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled: The GLOBAL and Hofstede projects. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(6), 915–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Steensma, H. K., Marino, L., Weaver, K. M., & Dickson, P. H. (2000). The influence of national culture on the formation of technology alliances by entrepreneurial firms. Academy of Management Journal, 43(5), 951–973.Google Scholar
  67. Studenmund, A. H. (1992). Using econometrics: A practical guide. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  68. Szwajkowski, E. (1992). Accounting for organizational misconduct. Journal of Business Ethics, 11, 401–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Trevino, L., Weaver, G., & Brown, M. (2008). It’s lovely at the top: Hierarchical levels, identities, and perceptions of organizational ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 18(2), 233–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  71. Triesman, D. (2007). What have we learned about the causes of corruption from ten years of cross-national empirical research? Annual Review of Political Science, 10, 211–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Trompenaars, F., & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding cultural diversity in global business. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  73. United Nations Development Program. (2005). Human development report. New York: United Development Program.Google Scholar
  74. Valentine, S. R., & Rittenburg, T. L. (2007). The ethical decision making of men and women executives in international business situations. Journal of Business Ethics, 71(2), 125–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Van de Werfhorst, H. G. (2011). Skill and education effects on earnings in 18 countries: The role of national educational institutions. Social Science Research, 40(4), 1078–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vitell, S. J., Nwachukwu, S. L., & Barnes, J. H. (1993). The effects of culture on ethical decision-making. An application of Hofstede’s typology. Journal of Business Ethics, 12(10), 753–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. World Bank. (2005). World development indicators. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  78. World Values Survey Association. (2009). Word Values Survey 2005 Official Data File v.20090901. Aggregate File Producer: ASEP/JDS, Madrid. www.worldvaluessurvey.org.
  79. Wright, M. (1995). Can moral judgment and ethical behavior be learned? A review of literature. Management Decision, 33(10), 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. You, J. S., & Khagram, S. (2005). A comparative study of inequality and corruption. American Sociology Review, 70(1), 136–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaipei CityTaiwan

Personalised recommendations