Ethical stance among senior business and marketing students at Macquarie University

Julian de Meyrick, Nan Carter, June Buchanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper shows the results of an ethics survey undertaken by final year business and marketing students at Macquarie University in Sydney. The survey identified each student’s ethical ideology and asked them to evaluate the ethical nature of five scenarios. The large majority of students were identified as Situationists as defined in Forsyth’s Taxonomy of Ethical Ideologies. Male students were found to be more likely to be higher on the Relativism scale, tending to reject moral absolutes, considering situations in relation to their own principles and the particular situation. Some gender influence was detected in the evaluations of two of the scenarios. Situationists do not rely on the simple application of moral rules that can be rote learned. They are more likely to attempt to think analytically about a situation, to identify the appropriate ethical response. This requires a much deeper understanding of ethical concepts and supports the need for training in effective analytical skills in business education rather than teaching of absolute moral rules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalMacquarie business research papers
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • ethics
  • gender
  • ideology

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