The Ethical Orientation of U.S. Small Business Decision Makers: A Preliminary Study

  • Dianne H. B. Welsh Eastern Washington University
  • Nancy J. Birch Eastern Washington University


Recent news reports of escalating ethics violations in the workplace has produced growing concern. This study surveyed small business decision makers concerning their ethical orientation. These results were then compared to general responses as reflected in the norms for validating the three instruments. Small business decision makers perceived themselves as less likely to engage in exploitative power behavior and perceived their organizations as fostering a more collective and procedurally oriented climate that might be interpreted as attempting to institutionalize morality. Additionally, small business decision makers had lower idealism and relativism scores, suggesting that they were more likely to use power to adjust personal injustices or to protect oneself from potential exploitation. Further implication of this preliminary study are discussed.


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How to Cite
WELSH, Dianne H. B.; BIRCH, Nancy J.. The Ethical Orientation of U.S. Small Business Decision Makers: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Small Business Strategy, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 2, p. 41-52, june 1997. ISSN 2380-1751. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 july 2019.