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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 18, 2021

James Weber, Leandra I. Díaz
Pages 119-142

Assessing Gender-Influenced Group Decision-Making in a Course Simulation
Considering Possible Explanations and Pedagogical Implications

The business ethics education literature provides many in-depth explorations looking at the impact of ethics education and occasionally the influence of gender. Yet, research exploring decision making is primarily focused at the individual level, often omitting important influences that might occur when decision making occurs within a group setting. This paper utilizes a classroom simulation, the Corporate Policy Simulation, in a Business, Government and Society course to assess student group decision-making. We rely on theoretical principles found in Social Role Theory and two philosophical ethics of moral reasoning to assess the impact of gender within a group decision-making environment. Specifically, we assess if males in our study are better able to process financial decisions more effectively than females in our study, and if females in our study tend to process socially responsible or ethical decisions more effectively than males in our study. Our results support the expectations that all-female groups generally are able to make better socially responsible or ethical decisions, whereas there is no significant gender difference among any of the groups when focusing on financially orientated decisions. Possible explanations and the implications of this research on workplace practice and business ethics education are discussed.