Who Is Willing to Sacrifice Ethical Values for Money and Social Status? Gender Differences in Reactions to Ethical Compromises

Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5 (1), 52-59, January 2014

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2532701

41 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2014 Last revised: 25 Jun 2015

See all articles by Jessica Kennedy

Jessica Kennedy

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations; UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Women select into business school at a lower rate than men and are under-represented in high-ranking positions in business organizations. We examined gender differences in reactions to ethical compromises as one possible explanation for these disparities. In Study 1, when reading of decisions that compromised ethical values for social status and monetary gains, women reported feeling more moral outrage and perceived less business sense in the decisions than men. In Study 2, we established a causal relationship between aversion to ethical compromises and disinterest in business careers by manipulating the presence of ethical compromises in job descriptions. As hypothesized, an interaction between gender and presence of ethical compromises emerged. Only when jobs involved making ethical compromises did women report less interest in the jobs than men. Women's moral reservations mediated these effects. In Study 3, we found that women implicitly associated business with immorality more than men did.

Suggested Citation

Kennedy, Jessica and Kray, Laura, Who Is Willing to Sacrifice Ethical Values for Money and Social Status? Gender Differences in Reactions to Ethical Compromises (2013). Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5 (1), 52-59, January 2014; Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2532701. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532701

Jessica Kennedy (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations ( email )

545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty-list/kray-laura

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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