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Business Ethics in Bahrain

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This paper reports on a small-scale investigation of five relationships in business ethics. (1) Age, (2) Gender, (3) Education, (4) Religion, (5) Governmental Experience. This investigation is based on a respond from 40 employees in the kingdom of Bahrain. The reason behind selecting this study is that I have great interest in business ethics, and I believe that ethics could have a great effect on day-to-day business activity. Therefore, people usually have different theories with regards to business ethics. And there ethicality could be determined through the mentioned factors.

Literature review

Throughout the history, Business Ethics has been a constant problem in almost all organizations around the word. According to Joanne B. Ciulla, the problem of Business Ethics still exist although the world has gone through many technological and cultural changes that are related to the Business Ethics concept. (Ciulla, 2011) But the question here is: are the employee's business ethics improving regardless of the changes an organization is going through? Well to answer this, there are many factors to be considered. As a start, moral development has a great influence on a person to help him know the right act from the wrong one, in which the moral development changes while a person is growing up and could be enhanced or ruined by formal and informal education. In addition to moral development factor, there are other factors that contribute in the existence of the unethical behavior, such as: gender, age, education, government work experience, etc. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011)

According to Wallace R. Baker: "It is not only painful but inefficient to live in a society where there are no ethics, law and order. Worse, if individuals or businesses become steeped in unethical practices, this trend generally engulfs the political world as well". (Baker, 2007) Obviously, the country laws and politics play an important rule in increasing the unethical behaviors in organization. For example, if a businessman wanted to conduct a certain business in the kingdom of Bahrain, he must follow the ministry of commerce rules and regulations, however some of those rules might not be in his benefits, this will lead him to act unethically and try to go around those rules in order to achieve his goals. Since the goal of most organization - except for non-for-profit ones- is to achieve high profit margins, some directors and businessmen would go beyond ethical behaviors in order to accomplish this goal, because simply there job is to understand finance and marketing matters and not social responsibilities (Hooker, 2003). The firm must provide an organizational values and ethics training for all the staff. The goal of this training is to prepare the individual for future decision-making environment with little or no supervision. (Ferrell, 2005) Based on the theory of moral development, this study focuses on five areas that could have a direct effect on a person's ethical decision-making process within private and public sectors. Those areas are: age, education, gender, government work experience, and religion. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) This study is based on Mujtaba's and Afza's research in Pakistan, however the sample used here will be selected from the kingdom of Bahrain. Also, the religion area is added because I believe that this area could have a great effect on the result in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Research Problem

As reflected by the literature review, this research is aiming to find the degree of employee's ethics in making decisions. Because making the right decision usually yields organizational success. That could depend on many factors, such as: age, education, gender, government work experience, and religion

General proposition

"Organization success is affected by the employee's personal and environmental factors." Where, we can maintain organizational success through making ethical and wise decision making, therefore Ethical decision making is considered here as a variable. How is the decision-making affected from the business ethics direction? Well, through some factors related to the employees, such as: Age, education, gender, government work experience, and religion. Those factors are considered another set of variables in this study.

Age and Ethics

Age is usually linked with experience and wisdom. The older the person, the more experienced he/she is. But that is not always necessarily true with wisdom. But it all cases, age definitely affects a person moral maturity. Several studies indicated that there is no relationship between age and ethics. But most of the studies stated that older individual tend to be more ethical than younger ones. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) Therefore the study of this area will focus on the following hypothesis:

H1: Bahrainis that are 25 years old and above will consider ethics in making a decision more than those are younger (24 years and less).

Education and Ethics

The majority of studies stated that there is a strong relation between the level of education and ethics. Well, the more educated a person is, the more knowledgeable he is regarding business ethics and making an ethical decision-making. But this is not always the case. (Mujtaba and Afza, 2011) Based on Bahrain citizen people, I would like to place the following hypothesis:

H2: Bahrainis holding higher-level degrees (Masters, PHD) are more ethical than those holding undergrad, high school degrees and those are with no degrees.

Gender and Ethics

A few studies have reported findings of "no difference" regarding the ethics of males and females. For example, Sikula and Costa (1994) and McCuddy and Peery (1996) reported no relationship between gender and ethics. Interestingly, Cole and Smith (1996, p. 889) found that of the business students they surveyed, "male students were more accepting of questionable ethical responses and saw less difference between typical and ethical responses than did the female students..." Well, that result was in USA. But in Bahrain, I assume the result will be different.

H3 Female employees have a higher level of ethicality than do male employees.

Government experience and Ethics

Sometimes employees in public sectors tend to not act ethically and do not provide good services to the customer. We have this in Bahrain. Therefore, the following hypothesis would mostly represent this situation in Bahrain:




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