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Doing the Right Entrepreneurial Thing: Ethical Decision Making Under Uncertainty

2012

desmond ng

Are entrepreneurs more or less ethical than other business agents? How do individual biases and environmental characteristics affect ethical decision-making among entrepreneurs? Our conceptual framework builds on literatures in stakeholder theory and cognitive psychology to examine the effects of complexity and novelty on biases in an entrepreneur’s ethical judgment. And in using data from the World Values Survey, we find not only that entrepreneurs exhibit systematically lower levels of ethical judgments than business managers, but also that such differences are amplified by highly complex and, in part, novel decision settings. Such a finding raises important questions about the moral expectations that society places on entrepreneurs.

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