IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Culture, Gender, and GMAT Scores: Implications for Corporate Ethics


  • Raj Aggarwal


  • Joanne Goodell


  • John Goodell



Business leadership increasingly requires a master’s degree in business and graduate management admission test (GMAT) scores continue to be an important component of applications for admission to such programs. Given the ubiquitous use of GMAT scores as gatekeepers for business leadership, GMAT scores are likely to influence organizational ethical behavior through gender, cultural, and other biases in the GMAT. There is little prior literature in this area and we contribute by empirically documenting that GMAT scores are negatively related to the cultural dimensions of masculinity and power distance and are positively related to math literacy, uncertainty avoidance, and individualism. We estimate that cultural factors may account for as much as an 80-point difference in cross-national mean GMAT scores which are also related negatively to local language literacy, national educational spending, wealth per capita, wealth inequality, and gender development. Most interestingly, we also find a significant negative association of GMAT scores with ethical orientation. These findings have important implications for business schools and corporate ethics and leadership. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Raj Aggarwal & Joanne Goodell & John Goodell, 2014. "Culture, Gender, and GMAT Scores: Implications for Corporate Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 125-143, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:123:y:2014:i:1:p:125-143
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1800-5

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    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

    1. Dichev, Ilia D, 1999. "How Good Are Business School Rankings?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(2), pages 201-213, April.
    2. Aggarwal, Raj & Goodell, John W., 2010. "Financial markets versus institutions in European countries: Influence of culture and other national characteristics," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 502-520, October.
    3. Ramírez, Andrés & Tadesse, Solomon, 2009. "Corporate cash holdings, uncertainty avoidance, and the multinationality of firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 387-403, August.
    4. Gabriel Donleavy, 2008. "No Man’s Land: Exploring the Space between Gilligan and Kohlberg," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 80(4), pages 807-822, July.
    5. Daulatram Lund, 2008. "Gender Differences in Ethics Judgment of Marketing Professionals in the United States," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 501-515, February.
    6. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2007. "Governance Matters VI: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2006," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4280, The World Bank.
    7. Clark, Melissa & Rothstein, Jesse & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2009. "Selection bias in college admissions test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 295-307, June.
    8. Yungwook Kim & Soo-Yeon Kim, 2010. "The Influence of Cultural Values on Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility: Application of Hofstede’s Dimensions to Korean Public Relations Practitioners," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(4), pages 485-500, February.
    9. Patricia Werhane, 2008. "Mental Models, Moral Imagination and System Thinking in the Age of Globalization," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(3), pages 463-474, March.
    10. 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.
    11. Kirca, Ahmet H. & Cavusgil, S. Tamer & Hult, G. Tomas M., 2009. "The effects of national culture on market orientation: Conceptual framework and research propositions," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 111-118, April.
    12. Bruce Kogut & Harbir Singh, 1988. "The Effect of National Culture on the Choice of Entry Mode," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 19(3), pages 411-432, September.
    13. Chow, Chee W. & Kato, Yutaka & Shields, Michael D., 1994. "National culture and the preference for management controls: An exploratory study of the firm--Labor market interface," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 19(4-5), pages 381-400.
    14. Adrian Pagan, 1986. "Two Stage and Related Estimators and Their Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 517-538.
    15. Stephan Klasen, 2002. "Low Schooling for Girls, Slower Growth for All? Cross-Country Evidence on the Effect of Gender Inequality in Education on Economic Development," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(3), pages 345-373, December.
    16. Volkema, Roger J., 2004. "Demographic, cultural, and economic predictors of perceived ethicality of negotiation behavior: A nine-country analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 69-78, January.
    17. Yamin, Mo & Golesorkhi, Sougand, 2010. "Cultural distance and the pattern of equity ownership structure in international joint ventures," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 457-467, October.
    18. Buck, Trevor & Liu, Xiaohui & Ott, Ursula, 2010. "Long-term orientation and international joint venture strategies in modern China," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 223-234, June.
    19. Harris, Simon & Carr, Chris, 2008. "National cultural values and the purpose of businesses," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 103-117, February.
    20. Beverly Kracher & Robert Marble, 2008. "The Significance of Gender in Predicting the Cognitive Moral Development of Business Practitioners Using the Sociomoral Reflection Objective Measure," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(4), pages 503-526, April.
    21. Oxley, Les & McAleer, Michael, 1993. "Econometric Issues in Macroeconomic Models with Generated Regressors," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-40.
    22. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-247, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Goodell, John W., 2019. "Comparing normative institutionalism with intended rationality in cultural-finance research," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 124-134.
    2. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2018. "Does Masculinity Matter for Female Leaders? Evidence in cross-section countries," MPRA Paper 84776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Pesta, Bryan J. & Fuerst, John & Kirkegaard, Emil O.W. & Papaleo, Brent, 2019. "Does intelligence explain national score variance on graduate admissions exams?," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 8-15.


    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:123:y:2014:i:1:p:125-143. 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 (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: .

    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.