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Demonstrating the Need for Effective Business Ethics: An Alternative Approach

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ABSTRACT

Since the financial crisis, the malfeasance of business leaders has been a recurring theme in the news, along with calls for increased regulation and oversight. This focus on the ethics of the business community raises a concern about the ethics of those in business or going into business. The ethics of business people and business students has been explored by a number of researchers using survey techniques. We propose and report the results of an alternative method for investigating unethical behavior by students. In a motivated economic experiment with introductory level students, we find that business students were almost twice as likely to lie for a monetary reward as students in other disciplines, demonstrating the need for effective business ethics.

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