Contextual effects on ethical sensitivity and penalty judgments
Teaching Business Ethics
Kluwer Academic Publishers
341 - 363
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The aim of the current study is to explore the potential existence of contextual effects on ethical sensitivity and penalty judgments. In so doing, Turkish female and male business students’ ethical judgments for accounting and general business contexts are investigated, along with their penalty judgments in these two settings. The results of this study reveal no significant gender-related differences in ethical judgments on accounting issues, but significant gender differences are observed in general business scenarios. This finding supports the proposition that observed differences of ethical judgments between the genders may be contextual. The results indicate that there is higher ethical awareness for both genders in general business contexts, with females showing stronger ethical sensitivity than males for general business vignettes. In general, males are found to prefer harsher penalties than females for accounting settings and for all penalty choices. Analyses of penalty judgments between the groups of individuals who are more ethically sensitive and who are less ethically sensitive reveals that there exist significant differences between these groups in all penalty choices, with ethically-more-sensitive group participants preferring stronger penalties.