Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 199–208 | Cite as

Influence of Biological Sex and Gender Roles on Ethicality

  • Damodar SuarEmail author
  • Jyotiranjan Gochhayat
Article

Abstract

Earlier evidence predominantly supports that women are more ethical than men. With the replication of such a hypothesis for testing, this study further examined whether feminine gender roles are a better predictor of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Four hundred ten management students from two technical institutes in eastern India participated in this study. Along with the socio-demographic variables in the questionnaire, inventories were used to assess gender roles, ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values. The inventories had acceptable reliability and validity. The results suggested that when the confounding effects of age, caste, and rural/urban origin are controlled, women manifest higher corporate responsibility values than men, but they embody similar ethical attitudes and ethical behaviors as men. Furthermore, the feminine roles of the participants were found to be more consistent, potent, and direct predictors of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviors, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Hence, individuals with feminine roles may be better suited for ethical responsibilities.

Keywords

Corporate responsibility values Ethical behaviors Feminine roles Biological sex Gender roles 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Alex Michalos, Editor in Chief, and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve the quality of the manuscript.

References

  1. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Barnett, J. H., & Karson, M. J. (1989). Managers, values, and executive decisions: An exploration of the role of gender, career stage, organizational level, function, and the importance of ethics, relationships and results in managerial decision-making. Journal of Business Ethics, 8(10), 747–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beltramini, R., Peterson, R., & Kozmetsky, G. (1984). Concerns of college students regarding business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 3(3), 195–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bem, S. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42(2), 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bem, S. L. (1981a). Bem sex-role inventory. Redwood City, California: Mind Garden.Google Scholar
  6. Bem, S. L. (1981b). Gender schema theory: A cognitive account of sex typing. Psychological Review, 88(4), 354–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bharat, S. (2003). Women, work and family in urban India. In J. W. Berry, R. C. Mishra, & R. C. Tripathi (Eds.), Psychology in human and social development: lessons from diverse cultures (pp. 155–169). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Borkowski, S. C., & Ugras, Y. J. (1998). Business students and ethics: A meta-analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(11), 1117–1127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Conroy, S. J., & Emerson, T. L. N. (2004). Business ethics and religion: Religiosity as a predictor of ethical awareness among students. Journal of Business Ethics, 50(4), 383–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Despande, S. P., Joseph, J., & Maximov, V. V. (2000). Perceptions of proper ethical conduct of male and female Russian managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 24(2), 179–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elm, D. R., Kennedy, E. J., & Lawton, L. (2001). Determinants of moral reasoning: Sex role orientation, gender, and academic factors. Business and Society, 40(3), 241–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ford, R., & Richardson, W. (1994). Ethical decision making: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(3), 205–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Franke, G. R., Crown, C. D. F., & Spake, D. F. (1997). Gender differences in ethical perceptions of business practices: A social role theory perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(6), 920–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Freud, S. (1910). The origin and development of psychoanalysis. The American Journal of Psychology, 21(2), 181–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilligan, C. (1977). In a different voice: Women’s conception of self and morality. Harvard Business Review, 49, 431–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviours, institutions, and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Hunt, S., & Vitell, S. (1986). A general theory of marketing ethics. Journal of Business of Macromarketing, 6(1), 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ibrahim, N., & Angeladis, J. (2009). The relative importance of ethics as a selection criterion for entry-level public accountants: Does gender make a difference? Journal of Business Ethics, 85(1), 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ivan, L. (2012). Sex-role identity, nonverbal sensitivity and potential leadership style. Procedia—Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 1720–1729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kennedy, E. J., & Lawton, L. (1996). The effects of social and moral integration on ethical standards: A comparison of American and Ukrainian business students. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(8), 901–911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kohlberg, L. (1973). The claim to moral adequacy of a highest stage of moral judgment. Journal of Philosophy, 70(18), 630–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kohlberg, L. (1981). The philosophy of moral developments: moral stages and the idea of justice. San Francisco: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  23. Kohut, G. F., & Corriher, S. E. (1994). The relationship of age, gender, experience and awareness of written ethics policies to business decision making. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 59(1), 32–39.Google Scholar
  24. Kum-Lung, C., & Teck-Chai, L. (2010). Attitude towards business ethics: Examining the influence of religiosity, gender and education levels. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 2(1), 225–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Longenecker, J. G., McKinney, J. A., & Moore, C. F. (1989). Ethics in small business. Journal of Small Business Management, 27(1), 27–31.Google Scholar
  26. Marshall, K. (2006). Converging gender roles. Perspectives on Labour and Income, 18(3), 7–9.Google Scholar
  27. Messner, M. A. (2000). Barbie girls versus sea monsters: Children constructing gender. Gender & Society, 14(6), 765–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ministry of Labour and Employment, India (2012–2013) Annual Report. Retrieved February 28, 2014 from http://labour.nic.in/content/reports/annual-report.php.
  29. Mishra, S., & Suar, D. (2010). Does corporate social responsibility influence firm performance of Indian companies? Journal of Business Ethics, 95(4), 571–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Newstorm, J. W., & Ruch, W. A. (1975). The ethics of management and management of ethics. MSU Business Topics, 23(2), 29–37.Google Scholar
  31. Peterson, R. A., Albaum, G., Merunka, D., Munuera, J. L., & Smith, S. M. (2010). Effects of nationality, gender, and religiosity on business-related ethicality. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(4), 573–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Phau, I., & Kea, G. (2007). Attitudes of university students toward business ethics: A cross-national investigation of Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Journal of Business Ethics, 72(1), 61–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Preble, J. F., & Reichel, A. (1988). Attitudes towards business ethics of future managers in the US and Israel. Journal of Business Ethics, 7(12), 941–949.Google Scholar
  34. UGC Annual Report, India. (2011–2012). Retrieved March 3, 2014, from http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/Annual_Report_2011-2012_English_Final.pdf.
  35. Rest, J. R. (1986). Moral development: Advances in research and theory. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  36. Rittenour, C. E., Colaner, C. W., & Odenweler, K. G. (2014). Mothers’ identities and gender socialization of dauthers. Southern Communication Journal, 79(3), 215–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Robin, D., & Babin, L. (1997). Making sense of the research on gender and ethics in business: A critical analysis and extension. Business Ethics Quarterly, 7(4), 61–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roxas, M. L., & Stoneback, J. Y. (1997). An investigation of the ethical decision-making process across varying cultures. The International Journal of Accounting, 32(4), 503–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Roxas, M. L., & Stoneback, J. Y. (2004). The importance of gender across cultures in ethical decision-making. Journal of Business Ethics, 50(2), 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ruegger, D., & King, E. W. (1992). A study of the effect of age and gender upon student business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(3), 179–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Serwinek, P. J. (1992). Demographic and related differences in ethical views among small businesses. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(7), 555–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sikula, A, Sr, & Costa, A. D. (1994a). Are age and ethics related? The Journal of Psychology, 128(6), 659–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sikula, A, Sr, & Costa, A. D. (1994b). Are women more ethical than men? Journal of Business Ethics, 13(11), 859–871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith, P. L., & Oakley, E. F, I. I. I. (1997). Gender-related differences in ethical and social values of business students: Implications for management. Journal Business Ethics, 16(1), 37–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Srinivas, M. N. (1996). Village, caste, gender and method: Essays in Indian social anthropology. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Stevenson, T. H., & Bodkin, C. D. (1998). A cross-national comparison of university students’ perceptions regarding the ethics and acceptability of sales practices. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(1), 45–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stockard, J. (1999). Gender socialization. In J. Saltzman & C. Kluwer (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of gender (pp. 215–227). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  48. Suar, D. (1994). Discrimination against the girl child in India. Social Action, 44(3), 14–26.Google Scholar
  49. Suar, D., & Khuntia, R. (2010). Influence of personal values and value congruence on unethical practices and work behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(3), 443–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Terpatra, D. E., Rozell, E. J., & Robinson, R. K. (1993). The influence of personality and demographic variables on ethical decisions related to insider trading. Journal of Psychology, 127(4), 375–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weitzman, L. Z. (1979). Sex role socialization: A focus on women. Palo Alto: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  52. Whipple, T. W., & Swords, D. F. (1992). Business ethics judgements: A cross-cultural comparison. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(9), 671–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whitely, B. E, Jr. (1984). Sex-role orientation and psychological well-being: Two meta-analyses. Sex Roles, 12(1/2), 207–225.Google Scholar
  54. WHO. (2014). Gender, women and health: What do we mean by “sex” and “gender”? Retrieved from http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/.
  55. Wood, J. A., Longenecker, J. G., McKinney, J. A., & Moore, C. W. (1988). Ethical attitudes of students and business professionals: A study of moral reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics, 7(4), 249–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

Personalised recommendations