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The influence of microcultures on perceived ethical problems

Sarwono, Slamet S. (1997) The influence of microcultures on perceived ethical problems. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This study extends Hunt and Vitell’s General Theory of Marketing Ethics. Specifically, it investigates the relationship between microcultural backgrounds and perceived ethical problems through a close examination of the cultural environment of several ethnic microcultural groups in Indonesia. The ethnic microcultural groups were measured in terms of their cultural dimensions and personal value orientations. Hofstede’s Value Survey Module and Allport, Vernon, and Lindzey’s Study of Values were used to measure cultural dimensions and personal value orientations, respectively. In addition, the manager’s perceived ethical problems were assessed using four projective business scenarios.

Hofstede’s Value Survey Module was factor analysed using the principal component analysis with varimax rotation procedure, which identified five cultural dimensions. These five dimensions are named as Masculinity (MAS), Individualism (IDV), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), and Power Distance 1 (PDI 1), and Power Distance 2 (PDI 2). The existence of two different Power Distances appear to represent the managers’ cultural convergence which is due to the use of a common business language, advanced management education, western organisational structure, and the use of modem technology. The Allport, Vernon, and Lindzey’s Study of Values includes Economic, Political, and Religious Value Orientations. Furthermore, One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Multivariate Regression Analysis were used to examine the research hypotheses.

The study results showed that the three microcultural groups in the sample differed relative to their Economic Value and Religious Value Orientations, Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) and Power Distance 1 (PDI 1) dimensions. Another significant result showed that managers from the three microcultural groups perceived ethical problems differently. Managers perceived ethical problems were positively related to Individualism (IDV) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) dimensions, and negatively related to Religious Value Orientation. The positive relationship means that the higher the Individualism and Uncertainty Avoidance the less likely the individual is to perceive ethical problems. The negative relationship between Religious Value Orientation and perceived ethical problems means that the higher the Religious Value Orientation the more likely the individual is to perceive ethical problems. Overall, the results of this study support the hypotheses that managers from different microcultural backgrounds differ in terms of their perceived ethical problems.

One implication of this study suggest that managers who work in international settings should be aware of the potential differences in perceived ethical problems held by managers from different ethnic microcultures. In addition, international managers should improve their sensitivity to the cultural condition in the host country. A comprehensive understanding of cultural dimensions would also assist international managers in identifying microcultural differences within a pluralistic country and provide new knowledge about ethnic determination in business ethics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Business
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Armstrong, Robert W.
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