Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 33–44 | Cite as

Spirituality and national culture as antecedents to ethical decision-making: a comparison between the United States and Norway

  • Rafik I. Beekun
  • James W. Westerman


We investigate the cross-cultural relationships between spirituality and ethical decision-making in Norway and the U.S. Data were collected from business students (n = 149) at state universities in Norway and the U.S. Results indicate that intention to behave ethically was significantly related to spirituality, national culture, and the influence of peers. Americans were significantly less ethical than Norwegians based on the three dimensions of ethics, yet more spiritual overall. Interestingly, the more spiritual were Norwegians, the more ethical was their decision-making. By contrast, the more spiritual were Americans, the less ethical was their decision-making. The research also found that peer influences were more important to Norwegians than to Americans in making ethical decisions. Finally, spiritual people from the U.S. were more likely to use a universalistic form of justice ethics, as opposed to a more particularistic form of justice ethics used by Norwegians.


Ethics Spirituality National culture Religion Peers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Managerial Sciences Department/28University of NevadaRenoUSA
  2. 2.Appalachian State UniversityBooneUSA

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