Volume 1, Number 1


A comparison of attitudes towards business ethics held by South African students in two periods
Botha, H.J. and Shaw, G.K.

This study uses the Attitudes Towards Business Ethics Questionnaire (ATBEQ) as published in R.S. Moore and S.E. Radloff (1996) to measure the attitudes towards business ethics held by final year South African (SA) Bachelor of Commerce students at Fort Hare University. The results were compared with samples (1988) of American (USA) and Israeli students, a sample (1991) of Western Australian students and a sample (1996) of final year SA Bachelor of Commerce students at Rhodes University. A significant difference in attitudes was found to exist between the 1996 and 2010 SA samples. Contrary to the comparisons made in the 1996 study between SA and US, SA and Israeli, SA and W. Australian student samples, a significant difference between the 2010 SA and US and 2010 SA and W. Australian samples was also found in this study; moreover there was in-sufficient evidence to reject similarities between the 2010 SA and Israeli samples. The outcomes of the study validated theories on ethical attitudes and empirically confirmed that the pace of change that an individual’s ethical attitudes undergoes is slower than that of broader society. Various recommendations flowing from the findings are postulated for business and policymakers.

Keywords: Ethical attitudes and behaviour, business ethics, values