What are the major differences in male and female ethics?Men and women are raised in different ways, have different hormone profiles,and different genetic traits that draw them towards different behavior.
It isno surprise then that men and women behave differently in the work place andare drawn to different jobs and have varying ethical practices. With, this doesnot account for individual preferences and only provides a generalized view ofethical issue facing business today and may reinforce false stereotypes whichis counter productive to equality in the workforce. Corporations today areputting forth gendered corporate social responsibility policies which lay anoutline for steps to empower women within the company. Is this focus on genderequality required or helpful in an egalitarian society? Or are current socialnorms and practices enough to close the gender gap in management and leadershippositions over time. The CSR, which is short for corporate social responsibilityis described by businessdictionary.com asA company’s sense of responsibility towards the community andenvironment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies expressthis citizenship (1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes, (2)by contributing educational and social programs, and (3) by earning adequatereturns on the employed resources. (corporate social responsibility.
BusinessDictionary.com. WebFinance, Inc.)A company’s CSR policies are a way to communicate toemployees, stockholders, and members of the public what the company feels isimportant or their social mission statement that has nothing to do with the profitmargins of the company. Some companies have started integrating gendered policiesinto their CSR which are generally female centered. Female centered gender CSRpolicies could be guidelines on proper etiquette and actions in the workplaceand what definitions of harassment are or how to empower women in the workplace.These policies may come from a desire for equality among genders but some feelthat corporations are not what will empower women.
Lauren McCarthy found thatbased on her study of women run cocoa farms in Ghana thatcurrent focus of businesses striving to empower women throughCSR may not always be possible, or indeed, welcome, when freedom is betterunderstood as self-making, and the female and male ‘beneficiaries’ of CSRreconceptualised as active agents therein. (McCarthy)Some feel that these policies need to be in place to eventhe playing field. Historically men have had more power over women both in theworkplace and at home. Generally, men could have various career choices andjobs while women were limited to positions such as nursing or teaching if therewere able to enter the workforce at all. Kate Grosser voiced Stereotyping based on presumed gender differences can causepeople to be pigeonholed by, for example, giving women only “caring” jobs andmen only “risk-taking” ones.
This approach ignores individual capabilities,usually to the further detriment of women as a group. (Grosser)How has historical differences in the treatment in men andwomen effected the corresponding ethics? Has there been any effect on ethics atall? Grosser reported, “Contrary to the many claims about women’s presumablydistinct ethical orientation, they found that over two-thirds of the samplesfailed to yield a statistically significant association between moralorientation and gender.” (Grosser) These results seemto indicate that even though men and women experience the workplace differentlyand tend to have different jobs that there is a standard for ethical practicesthat has no bearing on differences in gender. However other results found by VincentGiorgini indicated, “every time there was a significant difference betweenmales and females, it was always because females were exhibiting less bias, andthe inverse was never true” (Giorgini V) He feels that thedifference in bias is influenced by the different experiences in the workforce,“difference in emotionality may influence the overall sense making process,thus influencing the final decision. When applied to situations involvingethical dilemmas, emotions may play a particularly powerful role.” (Giorgini V)Focusing on leadership and the differences in ethics amongmanagers is essential to a company’s CSR. Management sets the tone and takes ona training role among all employees in a company. One ethics survey among 2,754male and female managers in 27 countries found that compared with female managers, their male counterparts aremore willing to justify business-related unethical behaviors such as briberyand tax evasion, and that the gender difference in ethics becomes morepronounced under the cultural dimensions of collectivism, humane orientation,performance orientation, and gender egalitarianism.
(Chen)This study looks at a range of nations and compares theresults of the survey with societies that practice collectivism and societiesthat practice assertiveness. The study hypothesized that of societies that tendto be more assertive, “the pressure to accomplish goals and the lack of socialsupport produce anomic pressure, which causes people to engage in unethicalbehavior.” (Chen) This hypothesishowever, was not supported by the findings of the survey.
To be assertive tendsto be a masculine trait and furthermore this study hypothesized that in moreegalitarian societies, “Because the traits of both genders are comparable insocieties with high gender egalitarianism, the ethical reasoning between men andwomen should be similar in such societies” (Chen) This hypothesisseems to support the findings in the previous quoted studies that in a moreegalitarian society such as the United States and other western cultures thatthe difference in ethics among gender can be negligible to nonexistent. Thishypothesis was supported by the results of the circulated survey.Moving on to a highly important and proportionally underrepresented portion of the workforce is female entrepreneurship. “In industriesranging from banking to consumer goods, women are increasingly cast as anuntapped source of customers, suppliers, and innovators.” (Johnstone-Louis) Due to historicalinability for a woman to become an entrepreneur what are the steps that need tobe taken to increase the diversity in this high chance occupation? Men areknown to be risk takers and this might have some bearing on the number of male entrepreneurswhile women have been thought of as nonproductive members of society because oftheir role as homemakers.
“The market sphere was and is understood to bemasculine, public, and “productive,” the home sphere feminine, private, andprogressively imagined to be non-economic or “unproductive.” (Johnstone-Louis) Moving past thepreconceptions that homemaking is not valuable because the person doing thisjob does not receive a salary is an important step in giving value to women andultimately raising the number of female entrepreneurs. Myconclusions from my research in the roles gender plays in business ethics arevaried. Corporation’s trying to have gendered CSR policies are a step in theright direction but the most important part of encouraging equal opportunitiesfor women into the workplace are teaching societal norms and encouraging egalitarianpractices. In western society comparing ethics between male and femalesproduces minimal differences. This shows that even now with the fluidity ofprovider/caretaker roles produces a cohesive standard of ethics when pertainingto business and if men and women are taught the same values for the most part theywill make the same ethical decisions in the workforce.