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Spirituality and national culture as antecedents to ethical decision-making: a comparison between the United States and Norway


  • Rafik Beekun


  • James Westerman



We investigate the cross-cultural relationships between spirituality and ethical decision-making in Norway and the U.S. Data were collected from business students (n = 149) at state universities in Norway and the U.S. Results indicate that intention to behave ethically was significantly related to spirituality, national culture, and the influence of peers. Americans were significantly less ethical than Norwegians based on the three dimensions of ethics, yet more spiritual overall. Interestingly, the more spiritual were Norwegians, the more ethical was their decision-making. By contrast, the more spiritual were Americans, the less ethical was their decision-making. The research also found that peer influences were more important to Norwegians than to Americans in making ethical decisions. Finally, spiritual people from the U.S. were more likely to use a universalistic form of justice ethics, as opposed to a more particularistic form of justice ethics used by Norwegians. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Rafik Beekun & James Westerman, 2012. "Spirituality and national culture as antecedents to ethical decision-making: a comparison between the United States and Norway," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 33-44, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:1:p:33-44
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1145-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Westerman & Rafik Beekun & Yvonne Stedham & Jeanne Yamamura, 2007. "Peers Versus National Culture: An Analysis of Antecedents to Ethical Decision-making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 75(3), pages 239-252, October.
    2. Cohen, Jeffrey R. & Pant, Laurie W. & Sharp, David J., 1996. "A methodological note on cross-cultural accounting ethics research," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 55-66.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:02:p:295-310_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Octavian RUJOIU & Valentina RUJOIU, 2014. "Academic Dishonesty And Workplace Dishonesty. An Overview," Proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 8(1), pages 928-938, November.
    2. Lillian Y. Fok & Dinah M. Payne & Christy M. Corey, 2016. "Cultural Values, Utilitarian Orientation, and Ethical Decision Making: A Comparison of U.S. and Puerto Rican Professionals," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 263-279, March.
    3. Prithi Nambiar & Naren Chitty, 2014. "Meaning Making by Managers: Corporate Discourse on Environment and Sustainability in India," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 493-511, September.
    4. Yusuf Sidani & Akram Al Ariss, 2015. "New Conceptual Foundations for Islamic Business Ethics: The Contributions of Abu-Hamid Al-Ghazali," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 129(4), pages 847-857, July.
    5. Martin C. Schleper & Constantin Blome & David A. Wuttke, 2017. "The Dark Side of Buyer Power: Supplier Exploitation and the Role of Ethical Climates," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 97-114, January.

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    Ethics; Spirituality; National culture; Religion; Peers;


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