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