Teaching Business Ethics

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 435–445 | Cite as

Comparing Levels of Machiavellianism of Today's College Students with College Students of the 1960s

  • Robert L. Webster
  • Harry A. Harmon


The tactics, strategies, and behaviors thatwere suggested by Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince (1513) have become synonymous withmanipulative and unethical behavior. AlthoughMachiavelli wrote to the politician, hiswritings have since been expanded to describebusiness leaders as well as general behavior. The research we report examined theMachiavellian tendencies of current collegestudents and compares the results to theseminal study by Christie and Geis (1970). Theresearch reported here examined thecontemporary student's propensity towardMachiavellianism distinguished by major fieldof study and by gender. The data werecollected from students at colleges located inthe Midwest and the Southwest. We reportfindings that are similar to Christie and Geisand extend the trend line suggested by theirresearch. We believe these findings provideinsight for understanding the dynamics ofcontemporary college students and suggest acontinuing societal movement towardMachiavellian behavior.


College Student General Behavior Unethical Behavior Trend Line Societal Movement 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Webster
    • 1
  • Harry A. Harmon
    • 2
  1. 1.Ouachita Baptist UniversityUSA
  2. 2.College of Business AdministrationCentral Missouri State UniversityWarrensburg

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