International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Confluence of the Power-Distance Cultural Dimensions between the United States, New Zealand, and Germany in Ethical Responses
Susan M. Fredricks, Elspeth Tilley

This paper examines the power-distance cultural influences on ethical decision-making and communicating responses by undergraduate students from the United States, New Zealand, and Germany through six business oriented scenarios. Significant differences were detected on two of the six scenarios between the U.S. and New Zealand, with regard to the power distance of business relationships. Overall no group of respondents appeared more ethical than another. In fact, when asked if they were willing to deceive a regulatory agency, almost half of the respondents, regardless of location, indicated that they would be willing to do so. Findings indicate a weak link with the literature on (Hofstede, 1980) power distance dimension and adds some insight to the difference between the role Hofstede’s power-distance and when supervisory personnel are involved. Implications are discussed for educating various student cultures in ethical decision making and appropriate communication strategies.

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