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Effect of Personal Factors (Age, Gender, Education, Religion, and Governmental Experience) on Ethical Decision Making in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Effect of Personal Factors (Age, Gender, Education, Religion, and Governmental Experience) on Ethical Decision Making in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Prepared By: Muna Maayoof Student ID: 20043043 Submission Date: 17th of July 2011 Second Semester 11 08 Fall Effect of personal factors (Age, Gender, Education, Religion, and Governmental Experience) on ethical decision making in the kingdom of Bahrain Abstract This paper reports on a small-scale investigation of five relationships in business ethics. (1) Age, (2) Gender, (3) Education, (4) Religion, (5) Governmental Experience. This investigation is based on a respond from 40 employees in the kingdom of Bahrain.

The reason behind selecting this study is that I have great interest in business ethics, and I believe that ethics could have a great effect on day-to-day business activity. Therefore, people usually have different theories with regards to business ethics. And there ethicality could be determined through the mentioned factors. Literature review Throughout the history, Business Ethics has been a constant problem in almost all organizations around the word. According to Joanne B.

Ciulla, the problem of Business Ethics still exist although the world has gone through many technological and cultural changes that are related to the Business Ethics concept. (Ciulla, 2011) But the question here is: are the employee’s business ethics improving regardless of the changes an organization is going through? Well to answer this, there are many factors to be considered. As a start, moral development has a great influence on a person to help him know the right act from the wrong one, in which the moral development changes while a person is growing up and could be enhanced or ruined by formal and informal education.

In addition to moral development factor, there are other factors that contribute in the existence of the unethical behavior, such as: gender, age, education, government work experience, etc. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) According to Wallace R. Baker: “It is not only painful but inefficient to live in a society where there are no ethics, law and order. Worse, if individuals or businesses become steeped in unethical practices, this trend generally engulfs the political world as well”. (Baker, 2007) Obviously, the country laws and politics play an important rule in increasing the unethical behaviors in organization.

For example, if a businessman wanted to conduct a certain business in the kingdom of Bahrain, he must follow the ministry of commerce rules and regulations, however some of those rules might not be in his benefits, this will lead him to act unethically and try to go around those rules in order to achieve his goals. Since the goal of most organization – except for non-for-profit ones- is to achieve high profit margins, some directors and businessmen would go beyond ethical behaviors in order to accomplish this goal, because simply there job is to understand finance and marketing matters and not social responsibilities (Hooker, 2003).

The firm must provide an organizational values and ethics training for all the staff. The goal of this training is to prepare the individual for future decision-making environment with little or no supervision. (Ferrell, 2005) Based on the theory of moral development, this study focuses on five areas that could have a direct effect on a person’s ethical decision-making process within private and public sectors. Those areas are: age, education, gender, government work experience, and religion. Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) This study is based on Mujtaba’s and Afza’s research in Pakistan, however the sample used here will be selected from the kingdom of Bahrain. Also, the religion area is added because I believe that this area could have a great effect on the result in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Research Problem As reflected by the literature review, this research is aiming to find the degree of employee’s ethics in making decisions. Because making the right decision usually yields organizational success. That could depend on many factors, such as: age, education, gender, government work experience, and religion

General proposition “Organization success is affected by the employee’s personal and environmental factors. ” Where, we can maintain organizational success through making ethical and wise decision making, therefore Ethical decision making is considered here as a variable. How is the decision-making affected from the business ethics direction? Well, through some factors related to the employees, such as: Age, education, gender, government work experience, and religion. Those factors are considered another set of variables in this study. Age and Ethics Age is usually linked with experience and wisdom.

The older the person, the more experienced he/she is. But that is not always necessarily true with wisdom. But it all cases, age definitely affects a person moral maturity. Several studies indicated that there is no relationship between age and ethics. But most of the studies stated that older individual tend to be more ethical than younger ones. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) Therefore the study of this area will focus on the following hypothesis: H1: Bahrainis that are 25 years old and above will consider ethics in making a decision more than those are younger (24 years and less).

Education and Ethics The majority of studies stated that there is a strong relation between the level of education and ethics. Well, the more educated a person is, the more knowledgeable he is regarding business ethics and making an ethical decision-making. But this is not always the case. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) Based on Bahrain citizen people, I would like to place the following hypothesis: H2: Bahrainis holding higher-level degrees (Masters, PHD) are more ethical than those holding undergrad, high school degrees and those are with no degrees.

Gender and Ethics A few studies have reported findings of “no difference” regarding the ethics of males and females. For example, Sikula and Costa (1994) and McCuddy and Peery (1996) reported no relationship between gender and ethics. Interestingly, Cole and Smith (1996, p. 889) found that of the business students they surveyed, “male students were more accepting of questionable ethical responses and saw less difference between typical and ethical responses than did the female students… ” Well, that result was in USA.

But in Bahrain, I assume the result will be different. H3 Female employees have a higher level of ethicality than do male employees. Government experience and Ethics Sometimes employees in public sectors tend to not act ethically and do not provide good services to the customer. We have this in Bahrain. Therefore, the following hypothesis would mostly represent this situation in Bahrain: H4 Individuals working in a private sectors have higher level ethicality than those working in governmental sectors. Religion and Ethics

Many researchers stated that religion could have a major effect on person’s ethical values. A survey of 2,000 major US corporations revealed that the following ethical problems (arranged in order of importance) concerned managers: (1) drug and alcohol abuse, (2) employee theft, (3) conflicts of interest, (4) quality control issues, and etc. (Washington DC, 1990) Is it naive for a Muslim businessman to behave ethically in a globally, competitive environment? The answer is a resounding NO! In Islam, ethics governs all aspects of life. (Beekun, 1996).

Well, Islam is not the only religion in this world. And Muslim individuals are dealing with non-Muslims on a daily basis, the question is, does the religion affect ethical decision-making? H5: There will be a positive relationship between religiosity and degree of ethicality Measurement of variables This study includes six different variables, the main variable (Dependant Variable (DV)) is the ethical decision making. The five other variables that affect this variable (independent variables (ID)) are: Age, Gender, Education, Governmental Experience, and Religion.

There are different levels of measurements of variables; the following has been selected based on what is suitable fore each variable: Variable| Measurement Level| Age| Ratio| Gender| Nominal| Education| Ordinal| Governmental experience| Ordinal| Religion| Nominal| Observation While reading previous studies related to ethical decision making in organizations, I have noticed that many of those studies are not based on empirical data, but rather based on conceptual and pre-existing philosophical perspective. Moreover, the study that was conducted in Pakistan, neglected to add religion as a factor influencing ethical decision-making.

I believe religion sometimes is the factor that encourages ethics. Therefore, I decided to add it along with the other factors. Research Methodology * Sampling The non-probability sampling method has been chosen in order to cover both sectors, private and governmental. The method is called convenience sampling. The reason for choosing this method is to meet the objective of the study and because of cost and time constraints. * Data collection procedure Around 40 questionnaires were distributed, 20 for private sector employees and 20 for governmental sector employees.

This classification is intentional to cover both genders, in both sectors. The questionnaire employed included multiple-choice questions for Age, Gender, Education and religion. But for the rest government experience and related ethical questions, Likert-scale was used. There were six declarative statements and a five-category “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” rating scale; and labeled numerically from 1 (“Strongly Agree”) to 5 (“Strongly Disagree”). Data analysis The following table includes the factors used and the sample details: Factor| Mean| Median| Mode| Age| 2. 25 (22-24 years)| 2 (22-24 years)| 2 (22-24 years)| Gender| 1. 5 (Male)| 1 (Male)| 1. 5 (Male)| Education| 3. 15 (Undergrad)| 3 (Undergrad)| 3 (Undergrad)| Religion| 1. 175 (Islam)| 1 (Islam)| 1 (Islam)| Gov. experience| 4. 27 (Dissatisfied)| 5 (S. dissatisfied)| 4. 5 (Dissatisfied)| Factor| Standard Deviation| Variance| Age| 8. 020806277| 64. 33333333| Gender| 5. 338539126| 28. 5| Education| 13. 75984496| 189. 3333333| Religion| 5| 25| Gov. experience| 8. 336666| 69. 5| The questionnaire also included scale questions in which I used Likert-scale.

The following represents the analysis of Likert scale questions: Question 6| Government services are good in Bahrain | Calculated value| 5. 17| Is >= 1. 96, therefore the statement is a good discriminator of the measured attitude. | Question 7| Private sector services are good in Bahrain| Calculated value| 1. 21| Is < 1. 96, therefore the statement is Not a good discriminator of the measured attitude. | Question 8| Government employees practice ethical conduct while providing a service in Bahrain? | Calculated value| 1. 46| Is < 1. 6, therefore the statement is Not a good discriminator of the measured attitude. | Question 9| Private sector employees practice ethical conduct while providing a service in Bahrain? | Calculated value| 2. 64| Is >= 1. 96, therefore the statement is a good discriminator of the measured attitude. | Question 10| I always consider ethical conduct at my work | Calculated value| 1. 51| Is < 1. 96, therefore the statement is Not a good discriminator of the measured attitude. | Question 11| I am familiar with my company’s ethical conduct. | Calculated value| 0. 84| Is ; 1. 6, therefore the statement is Not a good discriminator of the measured attitude. | Hypothesis Testing * Age and Ethics: In order to test the original hypothesis, a null and alternative hypothesis has been defined: H0: Bahrainis that are 25 years old and above will consider ethics in making a decision less than those are younger (24 years and less). HA: Bahrainis that are 25 years old and above will consider ethics in making a decision more than those are younger (24 years and less). After performing paired T-Test on the data, the following has been calculated: The two-tailed P value equals 0. 173, by conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be not statistically significant. The Null hypothesis is not rejected. * Gender and Ethics: In order to test the original hypothesis, a null and alternative hypothesis has been defined: H0 Female employees have a lower level of ethicality than do male employees. HA Female employees have a higher level of ethicality than do male employees. The two-tailed P value is less than 0. 0001 by conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be extremely statistically significant. Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. Education and Ethics: In order to test the original hypothesis, a null and alternative hypothesis has been defined: H0: Bahrainis holding higher-level degrees (Masters, PHD) are less ethical than those holding undergrad, high school degrees and those are with no degrees. HA: Bahrainis holding higher-level degrees (Masters, PHD) are more ethical than those holding undergrad, high school degrees and those are with no degrees. The two-tailed P value equals 0. 0096, by conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be very statistically significant. Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected. Religion and Ethics: In order to test the original hypothesis, a null and alternative hypothesis has been defined: H0: There will be a negative relationship between religiosity and degree of ethicality H1: There will be a positive relationship between religiosity and degree of ethicality The two-tailed P value is less than 0. 0001, by conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be extremely statistically significant. Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. * Government experience and Ethics In order to test the original hypothesis, a null and alternative hypothesis has been defined:

H0 Individuals working in private sectors have lower level ethicality than those working in governmental sectors. HA Individuals working in private sectors have higher-level ethicality than those working in governmental sectors. The two-tailed P value is less than 0. 0001, by conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be extremely statistically significant. Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected. Conclusion This investigation provides somewhat mixed answers to the five questions posed. However it supported the proposed hypothesis with regard to gender, education, religion, and governmental experience.

But, age factor was not considered to have an effect on ethical decision-making in Bahrain’s companies whether those companies are private or public. Well, the finding here is mostly consistent with those of previous studies, however, and by time, those results could change, and people might lose interest in following ethical conduct. Or on the contrary, they might appreciate ethics and pay more attention to ethical decision-making. References Baker W. R, 2007, A Reflection on Business Ethics, UNESCO FORUM, From Http://portal. unesco. org/education/en/files/53748/11840802765Baker. Beekun R.

I, 1996, ‘Islamic Business Ethics’, International Institute of Islamic Thought, From Http://www. muslimtents. com/aminahsworld/ethicshm. pdf Ciulla, Joanne B. , 2011, ‘Is Business Ethics Getting Better? A Historical Perspective’, Society for Business Ethics Presidential Address. Cole, Barbara C. and Dennie L. Smith: 1996, ‘Perceptions of Business Ethics: Students vs. Business People’, Journal of Business Ethics 15, 889-896 Ferrell O. C, L. Ferrell, 2005, ‘Managing the Risks of Business Ethics and Compliance’, From Http://www. e-businessethics. com Hooker J. , 2003, ‘Why Business Ethics? ’, Carnegie Mellon University, From Http://web. epper. cmu. edu/ethics/whybizethics. pdf. McCuddy, Michael K. and Barbara L. Peery: 1996, ‘Selected Individual Differences and Collegians’ Ethical Beliefs’, Journal of Business Ethics 15, 261-272 Mujtaba B. , T. Afza, 2011, ‘Business Ethics Perceptions of Public and Private Sector Respondents in Pakistan’, Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, 3(1) Sikula, Andrew, Sr. and Adelmiro D. Costa, 1994, ‘Are Women More Ethical than Men? ’, Journal of Business Ethics 13, 859-871 Washington, DC, America’s Most Pressing Ethical Problems, 1990. Washington, DC: The Ethics Resource Center, p. 1.