IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/jbuset/v114y2013i3p513-528.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Conflict of Ethos and Ethics: A Sociological Theory of Business People’s Ethical Values

Author

Listed:
  • Lydia Segal

    ()

  • Mark Lehrer

    ()

Abstract

This article develops a sociological theory of ambivalence to explain several puzzling and contradictory ethical attitudes of business people: (1) a simultaneous disposition to comparatively more self-interested and more charitable behavior than many other occupational groups and (2) a moderate level of receptiveness to inculcation of moral principles through social channels such as higher education. We test the theory by comparing the way that business students rate the ethical acceptability of various ethically challenging scenarios with the way that criminal justice students rate these same scenarios. We also explore the malleability of ethical views by measuring differences between the responses of sophomores and seniors. The data generally support hypotheses based on a theory of ambivalence. At the same time, however, we also report on findings that suggest alternative explanations to ambivalence. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Lydia Segal & Mark Lehrer, 2013. "The Conflict of Ethos and Ethics: A Sociological Theory of Business People’s Ethical Values," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 513-528, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:114:y:2013:i:3:p:513-528
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1359-6
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-012-1359-6
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eddy Ng & Ronald Burke, 2010. "Predictor of Business Students’ Attitudes Toward Sustainable Business Practices," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(4), pages 603-615, September.
    2. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    3. Kaikati, Jack G., 1977. "The phenomenon of international bribery," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-37, February.
    4. Ailian Gan, 2006. "The Impact of Public Scrutiny on Corporate Philanthropy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 217-236, December.
    5. A. S. MacKewn & K. W. VanVuren, 2007. "A Study of Moral Decision-Making: Business Majors Versus Non-Business Majors," Global Journal of Business Research, The Institute for Business and Finance Research, vol. 1(1), pages 139-146.
    6. Ponemon, Lawrence A., 1992. "Ethical reasoning and selection-socialization in accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 239-258.
    7. David Jones, 2009. "A Novel Approach to Business Ethics Training: Improving Moral Reasoning in Just a Few Weeks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 367-379, August.
    8. Burroughs, James E & Rindfleisch, Aric, 2002. " Materialism and Well-Being: A Conflicting Values Perspective," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 348-370, December.
    9. David Fritzsche & E. Oz, 2007. "Personal Values’ Influence on the Ethical Dimension of Decision Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 75(4), pages 335-343, November.
    10. Claus Frederiksen, 2010. "The Relation Between Policies Concerning Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Philosophical Moral Theories – An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 357-371, May.
    11. William E. Shafer & Richard S. Simmons, 2008. "Social responsibility, Machiavellianism and tax avoidance: A study of Hong Kong tax professionals," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(5), pages 695-720, June.
    12. Jaepil Choi & Heli Wang, 2007. "The Promise of a Managerial Values Approach to Corporate Philanthropy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 75(4), pages 345-359, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stuart M. Belle, 2017. "Knowledge Stewardship as an Ethos-Driven Approach to Business Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 83-91, April.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:114:y:2013:i:3:p:513-528. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.