The objective is to have an examination of the effect of Hofstede’s dimensions on culture on the ethical sensitivity of an individual towards the following stakeholders – customers, one’s company, competitors and also colleagues. The first major finding of this research was that the positive effect of uncertainty avoidance was higher than the negative effect of power distance. To add onto this, the nationality variable was non-significant in some degree. The other finding was that power distance and individualism had a negative effect on ESS. However, uncertainty avoidance and the nationality variable had a positive effect on ESS. This scenario was for agent versus customer. The third scenario was for agent versus competition. The finding, in this case, was that power distance and individualism had negative effects while uncertainty avoidance had a positive effect. The final scenario was for agent versus colleague. In this case, power distance and individualism had negative effects whereas uncertainty avoidance and nationality variable had a positive effect.
In this section, the interrelationships among the variables will be summarized. With regard to agent versus company, power distance had a negative effect of -.150. The uncertainty effect had a positive effect of .406. The other two variables- individualism and nationality variable had no significant effect on ESS. 14.1% of the variance in ESS is explained by uncertainty avoidance and power distance. For the scenario pertaining agent versus customer, power distance had a negative effect of -.221 while that of individualism was -.240. Both uncertainty avoidance and nationality variable had positive effects of .473 and .206 respectively. These two variables were responsible for 18.8% change in ESS. Both power distance and individualism had negative effects on ESS; amounting to -.131 and -.229 for the agent versus competition scenario. In addition, uncertainty avoidance had a positive effect of .306. These three variables explained 15.2% of ESS variance. The nationality variable had no effect in this case. The final scenario was based on agent versus colleague. Both power distance and individualism had negative effects of -.215 and -.348. Uncertainty avoidance and nationality variable had positive effects of .319 and .510.
The sample had 186 Taiwanese respondents and 172 American respondents. The male respondents for the US sample were 79% while the female respondents were 45%. The college graduates for the US were 71% while their Taiwan counterparts were 52%. For the US sales agents, the overall work experience averaged 23 years while the insurance experience averaged 13 years. In Taiwan, the years were 13 and 6 respectively. The respondents aged between 25 and 44 were 73% in the US in comparison to 62% in Taiwan. For the 18 to 24 age bracket, the respondents were 34% for Taiwan and 13% for the US. 3% of the respondents between 45 to 54 years were from Taiwan while 14% were from the US.
Of these, the first was that power distance had a negative influence on ESS towards the customers, the company itself, competition and colleagues. The second is that uncertainty avoidance had a positive effect on ESS towards all stakeholders. Individualism had a negative effect on ethical sensitivity. The first managerial implication is that differences in cultural dimensions influence the sensitivity of individuals towards stakeholders. Managers should promote ethical behaviors in their companies in order to promote ethics. Finally, lines of authority should be delineated to avoid misinterpretation of managers’ desires.
The first limitation is that the two samples may not have warranted comparison based on differences in terms of gender, education and experience of work. Secondly, additional research should be conducted in other cultures to justify for the cultural differences, and not only US and Taiwan.
I feel that this article provides valuable information with regard to culture. From my experience, culture shapes the acceptance of products in different regions. People react differently to adverts, for example, and hence the products themselves. For instance, promotion of products by ladies showing too much skin may not be accepted in some parts of Asia such as Middle East while customers in the US may not have a problem. I, therefore, agree with the findings of this article.
Blodgett, J. D., Chuan, L. L., Rose, G. M., & Vitell, S. J. (2001). Ethical Sensitivity to Stakeholder Interests: A Cross - Cultural Comparison. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 197.