Business ethics, decision making, business students, moral education


"Based on a survey questionnaire of 299 university students, we find that business majors act more ethically than other majors in some cases and less ethically in others. Business students appear more likely to adopt the consequentialist framework to evaluate ethical dilemmas. Our results are consistent with business students being more discriminating based on the perceived costs and benefits of each case. We find differences in behavior based on active versus passive unethical behavior and based on the identity of the potentially harmed party. This evidence suggests that business school curricula that focus on acting ethically because it is the right thing to do may be ineffective. Our results indicate it may be important to openly discuss unethical behavior in a framework that considers the long-term consequences to all affected stakeholders. As a result, business students and future professionals may conclude that ethical behavior is supported by careful cost-benefit analysis. "

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