The issues surrounding business ethics have elicited varied opinions with a great variation between what different organizations and societies consider to be a good business ethic. The variation can be /informed by the dynamics in the way of behaviors and attitudes of a people or the organizational culture. This means that what is ethical in one setting could be unethical in a different setting. This is what fuels the discussion as to what the underlying factors that can be used to determine whether a scenario is ethical or unethical. This write up will present a critical review of the article the effect of culture and religiosity on business ethics: A cross –cultural comparison authored by Rashid and Ibrahim in the year 2008.
How an individual responds to a certain business ethical requirement will largely depend on the culture in which they grew and the religious beliefs they subscribe. This means that what is ethical in one culture or religion can be unethical in a different culture or religion. This is what Ibrahim and Rashid established in their article the effect of culture and religiosity on business ethics: A cross –cultural comparison in which they presented a comparison between the Malays, Chinese and the Indians.
They note that culture influences members to act or behave differently from others. According to them, Malays are polite, respectful, and sensitive to other people while Chinese are hard workers and value wealth and are thus motivated by financial rewards. On the other hand, Indians value extended hierarchically structured family thus possessing great organizational abilities. They further note that Indians are resourceful, fast in decision making, reliable on informal sources of information, and willing to bend ethics to suit situations.
Religiosity, according to them, has an effect on a person’s attitudes and behavior. Overall, the effect of culture and religion was evidenced in the study on the seven parameters investigated. Their research was thus extensive leading to reliable results. Their study results were clear. It revealed that Indians were more ethical than Chinese and Malays on selling hazardous products, defective products and keeping quiet on hazardous products. They thus conclude that Indians are more ethical on business ethics concerning the customers suggesting champions of causes.
Chinese were found more ethical on misleading instructions, padding expense account, taking sick leave to take a day off and supplier to take good care of client attitude. These were attributed to the pragmatism of the Chinese as a cultural trait that held that while the need for wealth is important, maintaining face is equally important. It also implies that Chinese has a wider perspective of business ethics than Indians do.
In conclusion, the two scholars were successful in providing evidence that difference in culture is one of the causes of the variations in the kind of ethics people will cherish. They conclude that cultures differ with the levels of religiosity and which ultimately influences their understanding of business ethics. Additionally, it was revealed that an individual’s nature and nurture will greatly influence what he perceives to be ethical.