Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

A Comparative Study: Ethical Perspectives of American and Jordanian Students

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

A Comparative Study: Ethical Perspectives of American and Jordanian Students

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Technological advancements in the global business environment and consolidation of corporations lead many people to believe that the coverage of ethics in universities is best achieved by having a diverse classroom, including a variety of nationalities and cultures. This paper attempted to analyze ethical perspectives of American and Jordanian students. Results indicated that students, in both countries, seemed to lack understanding of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility. The results showed that cultural factors affected students' perception of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility. For example, Jordanian students were more likely than American students to risk their jobs because of social responsibility. The results showed a gender difference in the perception of ethics and professional responsibility. Females were more likely than males to demonstrate ethical behaviors. There were no significant differences in perceptions of ethics and professional responsibility between students in lower- and upper-level classes or between business and non business majors.

INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW

Relatively few studies have been done on ethics dealing with cultural diversity in the classroom (primarily by classification, sex, or major). This study evaluated responses pertaining to ethical scenarios by examining and analyzing student comments involving ethics and professional responsibilities. More specifically, it investigated perceptions related to factors that affected the students' assessment of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility. The study tested statistical differences involving these perceptions using various variables such as country (United States/American students versus Jordan/Jordanian students), gender, student classification lower-level (freshmen and sophomores) versus upper-level (juniors and seniors), and major (business versus non-business). The following hypotheses were tested:

H1: There is a significant difference in perception of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility between American and Jordanian students.

H2: There is a significant difference in perception of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility between males and females.

H3: There is a significant difference in perception of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility between students in lower-level and upper-level classes.

H4: There is a significant difference in perception of the relationship between ethics and professional responsibility between business and non-business majors.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The research process used student responses to a case study (Appendix A) adapted from a Management Information Systems textbook. During the 2002-2003 academic year, questionnaires were distributed to random samples of students from one university in the United States and one university in Jordan. This case dealt with the privacy of customer information in a small business. Based upon a variety of scenarios, students were asked various questions with ethical implications. Participants were given the opportunity to comment on why they would change their decision and distribute confidential information based upon these different scenarios. The study requested student data regarding demographic variables such as gender, major, and classification. The case was administered in its original form (English) to avoid any problem of translation from English to Arabic. A detailed explanation of survey items was given to Jordanian students by instructors who were knowledgeable in the English language. Statistical analysis utilized the SAS package to compute frequencies, means, percentages, and Chi-Square values. Since the data were nominal in nature, contingency tables and the Chi-Square statistical procedure were used to test for significant differences. …

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