Honor among businesses: Corporations are becoming more ethical

A study published in the April issue of the Journal of Small Business Management finds that the business world is not going the way of Enron. Or the way of Arthur Andersen. Or the way of WorldCom. Instead, research shows that over the past 17 years the ethics of business leaders and professionals is improving. In recent years business owners and managers are making more ethical decisions.

The study was based on responses from more than 5,000 managers of both small and large firms in all 50 states. Over a time period stretching three decades, the authors mailed surveys to respondents in 1985, 1993, and 2001 asking them to judge the degree to which they found 16 scenarios compatible to their own ethical views. The business situations ranged from the illegal to the debatable. With the exception of the 1993 survey, in which small business respondents showed a propensity to be less ethical, there was no difference between large and small firms. Both showed increasingly positive selections.


This study is published in the 50th Anniversary Special issue of the Journal of Small Business Management. Media wishing to receive a PDF please contact [email protected]

The Journal of Small Business Management features articles on small business research around the world. This quarterly journal covers many topics of interest to researchers and educators, as well as practitioners, in the fields of entrepreneurship and small business. It is the official journal of the International Council for Small Business.

This issue is dedicated to lead author Justin G. Longenecker.

Co-authors Carols W. Moore, J. William Petty, Leslie E. Palich, and Joseph A. McKinney are at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.

Dr. Palich is a professor of Entrepreneurship and author for numerous research articles. He is available for media questions and interviews.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Last updated: 30 Apr 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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