A selection of interesting articles we found recently looking at influences on being ethical.

Influence of biological sex and gender roles on ethicality
Earlier evidence predominantly supports that women are more ethical than men. With the replication of such a hypothesis for testing, this study further examined whether feminine gender roles are a better predictor of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviours, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Four hundred ten management students from two technical institutes in eastern India participated in this study. Along with the socio-demographic variables in the questionnaire, inventories were used to assess gender roles, ethical attitudes, ethical behaviours, and corporate responsibility values. The inventories had acceptable reliability and validity.

The results suggested that when the confounding effects of age, caste, and rural/urban origin are controlled, women manifest higher corporate responsibility values than men, but they embody similar ethical attitudes and ethical behaviours as men. Furthermore, the feminine roles of the participants were found to be more consistent, potent, and direct predictors of ethical attitudes, ethical behaviours, and corporate responsibility values than the biological sex. Hence, individuals with feminine roles may be better suited for ethical responsibilities.

Find more details at: Damodar Suar & Jyotiranjan Gochhayat. 2016. Influence of biological sex and gender roles on ethicality.
Journal Of Business Ethics, 134(2), 199-208.

Cultural values, utilitarian orientation, and ethical decision making: A comparison of U.S. and Puerto Rican professionals
Using samples from the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Lillian Fok and her team examine cross-cultural differences in cultural value dimensions, and relate these to act and rule utilitarian orientations, and ethical decision making of business professionals. Although these places share the same legal environment, culturally they are distinct. In addition to tests of between-group differences, a model in which utilitarian orientation mediates the influence of cultural values on ethical decisions was evaluated at the individual level of analysis.

Results indicated national culture differences on three cultural values, but no between-group differences on utilitarian orientations and ethical decisions. Significant indirect effects were found; act utilitarian orientation mediated the effects of two values activity orientation and universalism on ethical decision making. Implications for international management practices and business ethics are discussed.

Read more at: Lillian Y. Fok, Dinah M. Payne & Christy M. Corey. 2016. Cultural values, utilitarian orientation, and ethical decision making: a comparison of U.S. and Puerto Rican professionals.
Journal Of Business Ethics, 134(2), 263-279.

Firm internationalization and corporate social responsibility
Using a large sample of 3,040 U.S. firms and 16,606 firm-year observations over the 1991–2010 period, Najah Attig and colleagues find strong evidence that firm internationalization is positively related to the firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) rating. This finding persists using alternative estimation methods, samples, and proxies for internationalization and after addressing endogeneity concerns.

The authors also provide evidence that the positive relation between internationalization and CSR rating holds for a large sample of firms from 44 countries. Finally, the researchers offer novel evidence that firms with extensive foreign subsidiaries in countries with well-functioning political and legal institutions have better CSR ratings. These findings shed light on the role of internationalization in influencing multinational firms’ CSR activities in the U.S. and around the world.

See more at: Najah Attig, Narjess Boubakri, Sadok El Ghoul & Omrane Guedhami. 2016. Firm internationalization and corporate social responsibility.
Journal of Business Ethics, 134(2), 171-197.

Can you practice CSR where the institutional context is not enabling?
Yes, according to Kenneth Amaeshi and his team. The extant literature on comparative Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) often assumes functioning and enabling institutional arrangements, such as strong government, market and civil society, as a necessary condition for responsible business practices. Setting aside this dominant assumption and drawing insights from a case study of Fidelity Bank, Nigeria, the authors explore why and how firms still pursue and enact responsible business practices in what could be described as challenging and non-enabling institutional contexts for CSR.

The researchers’ findings suggest that responsible business practices in such contexts are often anchored on some CSR adaptive mechanisms. These mechanisms uniquely complement themselves and inform CSR strategies. The CSR adaptive mechanisms and strategies, in combination and in complementarity, then act as an institutional buffer (i.e. ‘institutional immunity’), which enables firms to successfully engage in responsible practices irrespective of their weak institutional settings. The authors leverage this understanding to contribute to CSR in developing economies, often characterised by challenging and non-enabling institutional contexts. The research, policy and practice implications are also discussed.

Read further at: Kenneth Amaeshi, Emmanuel Adegbite & Tazeeb Rajwani. 2016. Corporate Social Responsibility in Challenging and Non-enabling Institutional Contexts: Do Institutional Voids matter?
Journal of Business Ethics, 134(1), 135-153.

Personality traits and disorders in altruism
This study looked at personality trait and personality disorder correlates of self-rated altruism. In two studies over 4,000 adult British managers completed a battery of tests including a ‘bright side’ personality trait measure (HPI); a ‘dark side’/disorders measure (HDS), and a measure of their Motives and Values which included Altruism. The two studies showed similar results revealing that those who were low on Adjustment (Neuroticism) but high on Interpersonal Sensitivity (Agreeableness), Prudence (Conscientiousness) and Inquisitiveness (Openness) were more likely to value Altruism and be motivated to commit altruistic acts which concerns helping others and creating an environment that places emphasis on customer service.

Those more interested in “Getting Along” with others were more Altruistic than those more interested in “Getting Ahead” of others. Implications for the selection and management of altruistic people in a business are considered. Limitations and future directions of this research are also noted.

Read the full text for free (Open Access article): Adrian Furnham, Luke Treglown, Gillian Hyde & Geoff Trickey. 2016. The Bright and Dark Side of Altruism: Demographic, Personality Traits, and Disorders Associated with Altruism.  
Journal of Business Ethics, 134(3), 359-368.