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Male Pragmatism in Ethical Decision Making

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  • Kray, Laura J.
  • Haselhuhn, Michael P.
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    Abstract

    Why do men have more lenient ethical standards than women? To address this question, we test the male pragmatism hypothesis, which posits that men rely on their social and achievement motivations to set ethical standards more so than women. Across two studies, motivation was both manipulated and measured before examining ethicality judgments. Study 1 manipulated identification with two parties in an ethical dilemma and found that men were more egocentric than women. Whereas men’s ethicality judgments were affected by the identification manipulation, women’s judgments were not. Study 2 examined whether implicit negotiation beliefs, which predict achievement motivations to either demonstrate or develop negotiating skill, predicted ethicality judgments and, if so, whether this relationship was moderated by gender. As hypothesized, fixed beliefs predicted lower ethical standards, particularly for men. In combination, these findings suggest men are more pragmatic in setting ethical standards than women.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt05n3d6pj.

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    Date of creation: 30 Mar 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt05n3d6pj

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    Related research

    Keywords: Gender; ethical judgment; egocentrism; self-interest; negotiation; motivated reasoning; Business;

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    1. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
    2. Buchan, Nancy R. & Croson, Rachel T.A. & Solnick, Sara, 2008. "Trust and gender: An examination of behavior and beliefs in the Investment Game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 466-476, December.
    3. Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1337-43, December.
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