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Does Acceptance of Corporate Wrongdoing Begin on the Training Ground of Professional Managers?

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 34 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2006 Pages: 185-194
Olivia Yu; Lening Zhang
Date Published
March 2006
10 pages
This study used data collected from a sample of 537 graduate students in a southern State university to examine whether MBA (masters in business administration) students differed significantly from nonbusiness students in their acceptance of unethical and illegal business practices.
The study found that business students were more likely to be tolerant toward unethical business practices than nonbusiness students; however, the study found no significant difference between business and nonbusiness students in their attitudes toward illegal business practices. This suggests that business courses are emphasizing a law-driven approach to business ethics while retaining the maximization of profit as the top priority. The law-driven approach may be the result of the highly publicized criminal cases against top business executives in recent years as well as the core curriculum requirement that the MBA students in the sample take the business law class. Female and older students showed a consistently lower tolerance for both illegal and unethical business behaviors. Out of 1,100 survey questionnaires, 537 completed the survey. Of these, 253 were MBA graduate students and 284 were nonbusiness graduate students. The sample included 253 males and 282 females; 324 were under 30 years old, and 211 were 30 years old and older. The dependent variables were questionable business practices described in 16 vignettes. Most of the questionable business practices pertained to strategies for achieving business competitiveness or to meet performance expectations. The independent variable was the respondent's academic field. 3 tables and 48 references