The Great Abyss? International Moral Dilemmas and Reasoning Differences Between Entrepreneurs and the Nonbusiness Public

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Of the studies that have been done about ethical decision making in the international arena, most have looked at the issues from the lens of the large multinational corporation, not from the viewpoint of the entrepreneur. Little research attention has been focused on the intersection of three areas (entrepreneurs, ethics, and international), particularly when the analysis is of reasoning at the individual founder level and a nonbusiness comparison group. This paper studies 1) how entrepreneurs (founders) reason when faced with international ethical and cultural dilemmas; and 2) what differences exist in the reasoning patterns of entrepreneurs as compared to nonbusiness adults in the general population. Findings suggest that entrepreneurs reason about moral and social issues in essentially the same way as do comparison adults in the general population when considering general ethical (nonbusiness) dilemmas. The data suggest however that both participant groups shifted their priorities when dealing in the business context. The conceptual framework used in this study is social cognitive domain theory.

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