Materialism, Social Stratification, and Ethics: Evidence from SME Owners in China

Article


Su, Taoyong, Ji, Junzhe, Huang, A. and Chen, Lei 2018. Materialism, Social Stratification, and Ethics: Evidence from SME Owners in China. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research. 25 (3), pp. 499-517.
AuthorsSu, Taoyong, Ji, Junzhe, Huang, A. and Chen, Lei
Abstract

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,
this research intends to address this insufficiency and investigate SME owners’ ethical
attitudes towards 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:
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.

JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Journal citation25 (3), pp. 499-517
ISSN1355-2554
Year2018
PublisherEmerald
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1108/IJEBR-11-2017-0435
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-11-2017-0435
Publication dates
Online05 Sep 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Jul 2018
Accepted01 Jul 2018
Accepted01 Jul 2018
FunderNational Natural Science Foundation of China
Ministry of Education of China
National Natural Science Foundation of China
Ministry of Education of China
Copyright information© 2018 Emerald. This is the accepted version of the manuscript Su, T., Ji, J., Huang, Q., Chen, L., 2018, Materialism, Social Stratification, and Ethics: Evidence from SME Owners in China, forthcoming in the journal, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 25 (3) pp. 499-517. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-11-2017-0435.
LicenseAll rights reserved
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