Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 439–452 | Cite as

Business Education and Idealism as Determinants of Stakeholder Orientation

  • Jose-Luis Godos-Díez
  • Roberto Fernández-Gago
  • Laura Cabeza-García


This paper based on the distinction between the instrumental and normative views of stakeholder management explores how business education and personal moral philosophies may influence the orientation adopted by an individual. A mediated regression analysis using survey information collected from 206 Spanish university students showed that those exposed to management theories were less willing to consider stakeholders when making business decisions if the consequent economic impacts on the firm were omitted. The results also provided support for a negative effect of business education on idealism and a mediating effect of the latter on the relationship between education and stakeholder management orientation. This study thus raises awareness on the influence of business education on individuals’ ethical decision-making processes and suggests some possible changes for business education.


Business education Idealism Stakeholder management Instrumental orientation Normative orientation 

JEL Classification




We acknowledge the financial support provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Project ECO2012-35439) and the Regional Government of Castile and Leon (Project LE004A10-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose-Luis Godos-Díez
    • 1
  • Roberto Fernández-Gago
    • 1
  • Laura Cabeza-García
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of LeónLeónSpain

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