, Ph.D., BMI Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing, Florida International University, USA.
, Honors College, Florida International University, USA.
Priming is based on the notion that our emotions, actions, and perceptions, are strongly affected by unconscious environmental cues, as opposed to consciously processed stimuli. This research study adopts a priming approach to cross-cultural business ethics, and examines the effect of cultural priming on managerial ethical decision-making. Subjects were primed through exposure to a series of pictures depicting two cultures: either an American or an African culture. Using the scenario approach, subjects were asked to evaluate four short narratives describing an ethically questionable situation on an ethical scale. The four topics were: bribery, false advertising, pollution, and species extinction. The results show that groups which were primed with either culture found all the scenarios to be more unethical than those who were not primed at all. Significant differences between the two priming groups (African, American) were observed only for the species extinction scenario. More specifically, subjects that were primed with the African images viewed the extinction scenario as more unethical. Although cultural priming was not fully observed, both priming groups found all scenarios to be more unethical than the control group, meaning there was indeed a priming effect. These findings may lead to a better understanding of cultural differences and hopefully in diminished cultural misunderstanding and strife. It can also lead to better ethical decision-making by business people understanding the unconscious influences and biases they experience when dealing with different cultures and ethical dilemmas.
Keywords: Cross-cultural business ethics, priming, America, Africa, Corporate Social Responsibility.
JEL Classification: : M14.
Cite as: Tsalikis, J., Victoria, S. (2017). Cross-cultural priming and its effects on business ethical decision making. Business Ethics and Leadership, 1(1), 83-94. Doi: 10.21272/bel.2017.1-10
- Aarts, H., and A. Dijksterhuis (2003). The Silence of the Library; Environmental, Situational Norm, and Social Behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 18-28.
- Ahmed, M.M., K.Y. Chung, and J.W. Eichenseher: 2003, ‘Business Students’ Perception of Ethics and Moral Judgment: A Cross-Cultural Study’, Journal of Business Ethics 43(1/2), 89-102.
- Anderson, C. A., and B. J. Bushman (2002). The Effects of Media Violence on Society. Science, 295, 2377-2379.
- Bargh, John A. (1982). Attention and Automaticity in the Processing of Self-relevant Information. Journal of Personality and Psychology, 43, 425-436.
- Bargh, John A. (1989). Conditional Automaticity: Varieties of automatic influence in social perception and cognition. Guilford Press, 3-51.
- Bargh, John A., Mark Chen and Lara Burrows. (1996). Automaticity of Social Behavior: Direct Effects of Trait Construct and Stereotype Activation on Action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 230-244.
- Bargh. John A. and T.L. Chartrand. (2000). The Mind in the Middle: A Practical Guide to Priming and Automaticity Research, in H. T. Reis and C. M. Judd (Eds.) Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology, NY: Cambridge University Press, 253-285.
- Bargh, John A. (2006). What have we been Priming All these Years? On the Development, Mechanisms, and Ecology of Nonconscious Social Behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 147-168.
- Dijksterhuis, A., T. L. Chartrand, and H. Aarts. (2007). Automatic Behavior, in J. A. Bargh (Eds.), Social Psychology and the Unconscious: The Automaticity of Higher Mental Processes, Philadelphia: Psychology Press, 51-131.
- Descartes, René (1649, ed. 1993). Animals are Machines, in Environmental Ethics: Divergence and Convergence, eds. S. J. Armstrong and R. G. Botzler (New York: McGraw-Hill), 281- 285.
- Dunn, M.E. and R.M. Yniguez (1999). Experimental Demonstration of the Influence of Alcohol Advertising on the Activation of Alcohol Expectancies in Memory Among Fourth and Fifth-grade Children. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 7, 473-483.
- Ethics Resource Center. (2005). National Business Ethics Survey. Washington, D.C: Ethics Resource Center.
- Eagle, M., D.L. Wolitzky, and G.S. Klein. (1966). Imagery: Effects of a Concealed Figure in a Stimulus. Science, 151 (Feb 18), 837-839.
- Gibson, Jane Whitney; Greenwood, Regina A; Murphy, Edward F, Jr. (2009). Generational Differences In The Workplace: Personal Values, Behaviors, And Popular Beliefs. Journal of Diversity Management; Third Quarter. 4(3).
- Harris, Jennifer L., John A. Bargh and Kelly D. Brownell. (2009). Priming Effect of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior. Health Psychology, 28: 404-413.
- Higgins, E.T. (1996). Knowledge Activation: Accessibility, Applicability, and Salience, in E.T. Higgins, and A.W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles, NY: The Guilford Press, 133-168.
- Hilbert, M. (2012). How much information is there in the “information society”? Significance, 9(4), 8-12.
- Hisrich, R.D., B. Bucar, and S. Oztark. (2003). A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Business Ethics: Cases of Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, and United States, Cross Cultural Management 10(1), 3-28.
- Hofstede, Geert. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and
Organizations Across Nations. Second Edition, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.
- Hooker, J. (2007). Cross-Cultural Issues In Business Ethics. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from: http://web.tepper.cmu.edu/jnh/aib.pdf
- Hyman, M.R., & Steiner, S.D. (1996). The Vignette Method in Business Ethics Research: Current Uses, Limitations, and Recommendations. Studies, 20(100.0), 74-100.
- Laran, J. (2010). Goal Management in Sequential Choices: Consumer Choices for Others are More Indulgent than Personal Choices. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(August), 304-314.
- Laran, Juliano, Amy Dalton and Eduardo Andrade. (2011). The Curious Case of Behavioral Backlash: Why Brands Produce Priming Effects and Slogans Produce Reverse Priming Effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 37, 99-1014.
- Lawrence, A., &; Weber, J. (2008). Business and Society: stakeholders, ethics, public policy. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
- Levesque, C., and L.G. Pelletier. (2003). On the Investigation of Primed and Chronic Autonomous and Heteronomous Motivational Orientations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(12), 1570-1584.
- Maignan, I.: 2001, “Consumers” Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibilities: A Cross Cultural Comparison’, Journal of Business Ethics 30(1), 57-72.
- McNerney, Sam. (2011). Priming Revisited. Retrieved from. http://whywereason.com/2011/07/11/priming-revisited/
- Pechman, C., and S. J. Knight. (2002). An Experimental Investigation of the Joint Effects of Advertising and Peers on Adolescents’ Beliefs and Intentions about Cigarette Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 29, 5-19.
- Rizzolatti, G., & Craighero, L. (2004). The mirror-neuron system. Annu. Rev. Neurosci., 27, 169-192.
- Roehrich, L., and M. S. Goldman. (1995). Implicit Priming of Alcohol Expectancy Memory Processes and Subsequent Drinking Behavior. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 3, 402-410.
- Sen, A.K. (1977). Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 6(4), 317–344.
- Strahan, E.J., Spencer, S.J., and Zanna, M.P. (2002). Subliminal Priming and Persuasion: Striking while the Iron is Hot. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 556-568.
- Tsalikis, J. and B. Seaton. (2006). Business Ethics Index: Measuring Consumer Sentiments toward Business Ethical Practices, Journal of Business Ethics 64(4), 317-326.
- Tsalikis, John. (2014a). Business Ethics Index: Latin America. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(2), 209-218.
- Tsalikis, John. (2014b). The Effects of Priming on Business Ethical Perceptions: A Comparison Between Two Cultures. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-9.
- Vitell, S.J. and J.G.P. Paolillo: 2004, A Cross-Cultural Study of the Antecedents of the Perceived Role of Ethics and Social Responsibility, Business Ethics 13(2-3), 185+.
- Wang, X., & Young, M.N. (2014). Does collectivism affect environmental ethics? A multi-level study of top management teams from chemical firms in China. Journal of Business Ethics, 122(3), 387-394.
- Williams, L.E., and J.A. Bargh. (2008). Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth, Science, 322, 606-607.
- Winkielman, P., K.C. Berridge, and J.L. Wilberger. (2005). Unconscious Affective Reactions to Masked Happy Versus Angry Faces Influence Consumption Behavior and Judgments of Value. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 121-235.
- Wyer, R.S. (2008). The Role of Knowledge Accessibility in Cognition and Behavior: Implications for Consumer Information Processing in Handbook for Consumer Psychology, (Eds.) C.P. Haugtvedt, P. Herr, and F.R. Kardes, NJ: Erlbaum, 31-76.
- Zafirovski, M. (2003). Human rational behavior and economic rationality. Electronic Journal of Sociology, 7(2), 1-34.