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A Comparison of the Ethics of Convicted Felons and Graduate Business Students: Implications for Business Practice and Business Ethics Education


This research compares and contrasts the ethics of convicted felons in three midwestern United States prison systems with those of a cross section of MBA students from previous research. Building on and replicating seminal works in business ethics, this study identifies the differences and many similarities between students and inmates on several dimensions of ethics and values. Both groups expressed similar views of which ethical issues need attention from the business community, those constituencies that are most important to business firms, and perceptions of the ethics of other salient groups. When confronted with difficult ethical situations, inmates usually, although not always, tended to be more willing do what was asked and less willing to speak out regarding the conflict. Inmate priorities for ethical issues and constituency groups tended to be very similar to the MBA student sample. Implications for business practice and business ethics education are discussed.

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Stearns, J.M., Borna, S. A Comparison of the Ethics of Convicted Felons and Graduate Business Students: Implications for Business Practice and Business Ethics Education. Teaching Business Ethics 2, 175–195 (1998).

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  • Business Ethic
  • Ethical Issue
  • Business Practice
  • Student Sample
  • Ethic Education