Business Ethics in China and Iceland: Contrasts and Convergence

Throstur Olaf Sigurjonsson*, Audur Arna Arnardottir, Hao Jiao, Yunxia Zhu, David L. Schwarzkopf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


It is generally accepted that cultural differences affect individuals' approaches to ethics, but how are the effects of culture manifested in perceptions of ethics? Further, how are cultural differences displayed in such ethics-related actions as recommendations for business ethics education? Managers' responses from two starkly different cultures, China and Iceland, reveal, somewhat surprisingly, that one group's top business ethics concerns and business ethics education recommendations are at the bottom of the other group's rankings, and vice-versa, yet each appears reasonable given the cultural background. This shows how nuanced the expression of cultural differences in the realm of ethics can be and how potential practical steps may rely on perceived “top” ethical issues. Together, these findings imply that there is more to explore about the role of culture on ethical reasoning and behavior than researchers have examined to date. We provide suggestions for further research and practical applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 09 October 2021.


  • Business ethics education
  • China
  • Cultural comparison
  • Iceland
  • Managerial perspectives

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