Skip to main content

Ethical Orientations and Attitudes of Hispanic Business Students

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the attitudes and orientations of Hispanic business students regarding ethical and unethical actions as well as what rewards or punishments are considered appropriate for specific scenarios. A survey was developed using a 2 × 2 randomized experimental design to measure students’ ethical orientations and 38 items were developed to measure students’ attitudes regarding factors that can influence the decision to cheat or not to cheat. The results suggest that Hispanic business students are predominantly concerned with the ethical dimension of an act relative to the outcome of the act. Also, contrary to previous studies findings, some Hispanic business students are likely to cheat on any type of graded work based on the reason for cheating rather than the type of graded work. The paper utilizes an established framework for measuring ethical attitudes and orientations. The study offers a preliminary inductive path towards a more in depth understanding of Hispanic business students which is a rapidly growing population segment whose influence will become more widespread in the coming decades. Some of the findings are not consistent with previous research that examined student bodies as a whole. This might suggest that student ethics researchers may be missing valuable information regarding differences between student body segments that can further inform our understanding of students’ ethical views. Further, this insight may provide an avenue for a more effective approach to guiding the ethical development of students.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • Brown, B. S., & Choong, P. (2005). A investigation of academic dishonesty among business students at public and private united states universities. International Journal of Management, 22(2), 201–214.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borkowski, S. C., & Ugras, Y. J. (1998). Business students and ethics: a meta-analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 1117–1127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Damasat, A. (2007, April 30). Duke MBAs fail ethics test. Business Week. http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/apr2007/bs20070430_110466_page_2.htm. Accessed 24 October 2007.

  • Davis, S., & Ludvigson, W. (1995). Additional data on academic dishonesty and a proposal for remediation. Teaching of Psychology, 22(2), 119–121.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fishbein, L. (1993). We can curb college cheating. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 40(15), A52.

    Google Scholar 

  • Iyer, R., & Eastman, J. (2006). Academic dishonesty: are business students different from other college students? Journal of Education for Business, 82(2), 101–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hair, J., Black, W., Babin, B., Anderson, R., & Tatham, R. (2006). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hunt, S., & Vasquez-Parraga, A. (1993). Organizational consequences, marketing Ethics, and salesforce supervision. Journal of Marketing Research, 30, 78–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hunt, S. D., & Vitell S. J. (1986). A general theory of marketing ethics. Journal of Macromarketing, 6, 5–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kidwell, L., Wozniak, K., & Laurel, P. (2003). Student reports and faculty perceptions of academic dishonesty. Teaching Business Ethics, 7(3), 2205–2214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lopez, Y., Rechner, P., & Olson-Buchanan, J. (2005). Shaping ethical perceptions: an empirical assessment of the influence of business education, culture, and demographic factors. Journal of Business Ethics, 60, 341–358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Premeaux, S. (2005). Undergraduate student perceptions regarding cheating: tier 1 versus tier 2 AACSB accredited business schools. Journal of Business Ethics, 62(4), 407–418.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rakovski, C., & Levy, E. (2007). Academic dishonesty: perceptions of business students. College Student Journal, 41(2), 466–481.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scanlon, P., & Neumann, D. (2002). Internet plagiarism among college students. Journal of College Student Development, 43(3), 374–385.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smyth, M., & Davis, J. (2004). Perceptions of dishonesty among two-year college students: academic versus business students. Journal of Business Ethics, 51, 63–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • U.S. Census Bureau (2006). Hispanic Population: 2000 to 2006. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hispanic/hispanic_pop_presentation.html. Accessed 5 June 2008.

  • U.S. Census Bureau (2002). Survey of Business Owners (SBO). http://www.census.gov/csd/sbo/. Accessed 5 June 2008.

  • Vasquez-Parraga, A., & Kara, A. (1995). Ethical decision making in Turkish sales management. Journal of Euro-Marketing, 4(2), 61–86.

    Google Scholar 

  • Waples, E., Antes, A., Murphy, S., Connelly, S., & Mumford, M. (2009). A meta-analytic investigation of business ethics instruction. Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 133–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whitley, B. (1998). Factors associated with cheating among college students: a review. Research in Higher Education, 39(3), 235–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wood, J., Longenekcer, J., McKinney, J., & Moore, C. (1988). Ethical attitudes of students and business professionals: a study of moral reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics, 7, 249–257.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zastrow, C. (1970). Cheating among college graduate students. The Journal of Educational Research, 64(4), 157–160.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jason Flores.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Experimental Treatment Scenarios

Scenario 1
 − Ryan, a senior sociology major, has an exam next Monday morning. Over the weekend Ryan plans to go to a football with friends in a city 300 miles away. Ryan did not study for his exam before leaving and decided to take his study materials with him over the weekend intending to study, but he was not able to study. Two of Ryan’s friends who also went on the trip and have the same exam on Monday morning made a cheat sheet to help them pass the exam. He remembered an old axiom that cheating is wrong therefore he wanted to remain honest. A week after the exam, the professor returned the exams. Ryan received an F on the exam causing him to fail the class. Also, because the class was a prerequisite for two other classes Ryan was to take the following semester, he had to drop those two classes and could only take again the same class he failed. This put him a semester behind his intended graduation date and cost him thousands of dollars more in student loans.
 This scenario represents a situation where an ethical act resulted in a negative consequence. Three other iterations of this scenario included in the random sample of questionnaires include:
  ○ Ethical act resulting in a positive consequence
  ○ Unethical act resulting in a positive consequence
  ○ Unethical act resulting in a negative consequence
Scenario 2
 − Trisha, a senior business major known by other students and all her professors as a smart and dedicated student, is in her last semester with only 2 weeks of school left before her graduation. Trisha attends school only because she needs a business degree to receive a promotion where she works. In one of her classes Trisha has a paper due in 6 days. Being so close to graduation Trisha has lost her motivation to continue working hard. Trisha does not want to write her paper. One of her friends suggests that she purchase a paper from an internet service that has a paper on the topic assigned in class. Purchasing the paper would clearly constitute plagiarism and Trisha is aware of this fact. Despite the temptation, Trisha’s integrity leads her to write the paper instead. Trisha turned in the paper and earned a D. Another student purchased the same paper Trisha considered buying and received a B. Trisha needed a C on the paper to pass the class, graduate, and receive her promotion. But Trisha failed the class, could not graduate, and someone else in her company received the promotion she would have gotten had she passed the class and graduated.
 This scenario represents a situation where an ethical act resulted in a negative consequence. Three other iterations of this scenario included in the random sample of questionnaires include:
  ○ Ethical act resulting in a positive consequence
  ○ Unethical act resulting in a positive consequence
  ○ Unethical act resulting in a negative consequence

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Flores, J., Vasquez-Parraga, A.Z. Ethical Orientations and Attitudes of Hispanic Business Students. J Acad Ethics 7, 261–275 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-010-9100-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-010-9100-5

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • College students
  • Business students
  • Hispanics
  • Attitudes