A Four-Country Study of the Associations between Bribery and Unethical Actions

Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 84, No. 3, pp. 389-403, 2009

Posted: 15 Feb 2011

See all articles by Richard A. Bernardi

Richard A. Bernardi

Roger Williams University - Gabelli School of Business; Roger Williams University

Michael B. Witek

Roger Williams University - Gabelli School of Business

Michael R. Melton

Roger Williams University - Gabelli School of Business

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to extend the work of Bernardi and Vassill (2004) and to test the premise that small deviations from ethical behavior lead to even larger deviations from ethical behavior (Baack et al. 2001). This study examines the association between a people’s willingness to bribe a police officer to avoid being issued a speeding ticket with their views on inappropriate behavior of corporate executives. Our sample of 528 participants comes from the United States (237), Colombia (90), Ecuador (70) and South Africa (131). As part of our data gathering, we controlled for social desirability response bias in the responses of the students who participated in our study. Our data indicate significant differences between the views of the students from Colombia, Ecuador and South Africa when compared to the views of the students from the United States. The analysis indicates that, for all four dilemmas, the most significant variable was the belief about how ethical it was to pay a bribe to avoid a traffic ticket. Additionally, in three of our four dilemmas, Paulhus’ Image Management Subscale, which measures social desirability response bias, was the second most significant variable. Finally, in three of the four dilemmas, the students from Colombia, Ecuador and South Africa thought the actions described in the dilemmas were less ethical than the students from the United States.

Keywords: International Bribery, Hofstede

Suggested Citation

Bernardi, Richard A. and Witek, Michael B. and Melton, Michael R., A Four-Country Study of the Associations between Bribery and Unethical Actions (2009). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 84, No. 3, pp. 389-403, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1761376

Richard A. Bernardi (Contact Author)

Roger Williams University - Gabelli School of Business ( email )

Bristol, RI 02809
United States

Roger Williams University ( email )

Bristol, RI 02809
United States

Michael B. Witek

Roger Williams University - Gabelli School of Business ( email )

Bristol, RI 02809
United States

Michael R. Melton

Roger Williams University - Gabelli School of Business ( email )

SB 311
One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
461
PlumX Metrics