Materialism, social stratification, and ethics: evidence from SME owners in China

Su, T., Ji, J., Huang, Q. and Chen, L. (2019) Materialism, social stratification, and ethics: evidence from SME owners in China. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 25(3), pp. 499-517. (doi: 10.1108/IJEBR-11-2017-0435)

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Purpose: The study of business ethics has seldom shed light on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) despite their theoretical and practical significance. Drawing from strain perspective, the purpose of this paper is to address this insufficiency and investigate SME owners’ ethical attitudes toward money-related deviances. Design/methodology/approach: Based on a large sample of 741 Chinese SMEs, an OLS regression analysis was employed to test associated hypotheses. The robustness of results was additionally checked. Findings: The results suggest that for stratification variables, education level is positively related to ethical attitudes, whereas household income level is surprisingly negatively associated with ethical attitudes; for materialism facets, success and happiness exert a negative impact on ethical attitudes as hypothesized, but centrality has no associated impact. Research limitations/implications: This study has examined both structural and motivational sources of personal strains on the ethical attitude of SME owners, while the characteristics of these strains could be explored in the future studies. Originality/value: This study advances and complements the dominant behavior approach that emphasizes cognitive and other psychological processes in explaining individual ethical attitudes. It is also seemingly the first study to examine the influence of three materialism facets on entrepreneurial ethical attitudes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ji, Dr Junzhe
Authors: Su, T., Ji, J., Huang, Q., and Chen, L.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research
ISSN (Online):1758-6534
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited
First Published:First published in International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research 25(3): 499-517
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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