Effects of justice and utilitarianism on ethical decision making: a cross-cultural examination of gender similarities and differences

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Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between intention to behave ethically and gender within the context of national culture. Using Reidenbach and Robin's measures of the ethical dimensions of justice and utilitarianism in a sample of business students from three different countries, we found that gender is significantly related to the respondents' intention to behave ethically. Women relied on both justice as well as utilitarianism when making moral decisions. By contrast, men relied only on justice, and did not rely on utilitarianism when faced with the same ethical issues. Further, women's intention to behave was contextual, significantly affected by two national culture dimensions (uncertainty avoidance and individualism), whereas men's decisions were more universal, and not related to national culture dimensions.

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