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Exploring undergraduate students’ ethical perceptions in Barbados: Differences by gender, academic major and religiosity

Alleyne, Philmore & Persaud, Nadini

Journal of International Education in Business





Barbadosuniversitiesundergraduatesethicsreligioneithical perceptionsjusticerelativismutilitarianismdeontologyegoism


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there were differences in students’ ethical perceptions based on gender, academic major and religiosity. Design/methodology/approach – A self-administered survey was conducted of 132 students at a university in Barbados, to determine ethical perceptions on five moral constructs: justice, relativism, utilitarianism, deontology and egoism. Findings – The study found that females displayed higher ethical values compared to males, non-accounting students (majoring in management and economics) were more ethical than accounting students, and students who perceived themselves as being religious were more ethical than non-religious students. Both female accounting and non-accounting students, as well as religious and non-religious females, held higher ethical perceptions than their male counterparts. Research limitations/implications – The sample was small, thus limiting the generalisability of the results to the wider student population. Practical implications – The results should be useful for educational institutions to implement more ethical courses into the curriculum. Originality/value – The paper demonstrates that ethical perceptions are important among undergraduate students, and that there needs to be remedies to improve the low ethical perceptions among accounting students. The paper also contributes to the sparse literature on ethics in the Caribbean.



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