John Tsalikis, Ph.D., BMI Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing, Florida International University, USA.
Stephanie M. Victoria, Honors College, Florida International University, USA.
Priming is based on the notion that our emotions, actions, and perceptions, are strongly affected by unconscious environmental cues, as opposed to consciously processed stimuli. This research study adopts a priming approach to cross-cultural business ethics, and examines the effect of cultural priming on managerial ethical decision-making. Subjects were primed through exposure to a series of pictures depicting two cultures: either an American or an African culture. Using the scenario approach, subjects were asked to evaluate four short narratives describing an ethically questionable situation on an ethical scale. The four topics were: bribery, false advertising, pollution, and species extinction. The results show that groups which were primed with either culture found all the scenarios to be more unethical than those who were not primed at all. Significant differences between the two priming groups (African, American) were observed only for the species extinction scenario. More specifically, subjects that were primed with the African images viewed the extinction scenario as more unethical. Although cultural priming was not fully observed, both priming groups found all scenarios to be more unethical than the control group, meaning there was indeed a priming effect. These findings may lead to a better understanding of cultural differences and hopefully in diminished cultural misunderstanding and strife. It can also lead to better ethical decision-making by business people understanding the unconscious influences and biases they experience when dealing with different cultures and ethical dilemmas.
Keywords: Cross-cultural business ethics, priming, America, Africa, Corporate Social Responsibility.
JEL Classification: : M14.
Cite as: Tsalikis, J., Victoria, S. (2017). Cross-cultural priming and its effects on business ethical decision making. Business Ethics and Leadership, 1(1), 83-94. Doi: 10.21272/bel.2017.1-10
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