Gender, age, and ethical sensitivity: the case of Lebanese workers

Yusuf Sidani (American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)
Imad Zbib (American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)
Mohammed Rawwas (University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA)
Tarek Moussawer (American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to address issues of gender, age, and ethical sensitivity and to address the interplay of gender and age and levels of ethical sensitivity within the Lebanese context.


A structured survey was designed and administered to a sample of Lebanese respondents to test the extent of ethical sensitivity of the respondents. This study used a range of situations and scenarios to identify the levels of both sensitivity to business ethics and awareness of unethical business.


Significant differences were found in ethical sensitivity in only four out of 18 situations where in all cases females were more sensitive than males to issues of ethical nature. When comparing younger to older employees, significant differences were found in six out of the 18 situations. Age of the respondents seemed to better explain some ethical differences among respondents in some situations.

Research limitations/implications

The specific context (workers) in which this study was conducted may limit the generalizability of the results. In addition, such studies measure perceptions of business ethics or intentions to act in an ethical or unethical way. This does not necessarily describe the actual behavior that people will be involved in.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that males and females ethical orientations tend to get closer to each other as they mature in age. This could be due to workplace socialization. Accordingly, managers are invited to see the impact of workplace culture on ethical beliefs and behaviors.


This study contributes in understanding variations in ethical sensitivities across gender and age. There are only few research studies addressing business ethics and gender differences in the Middle East. This study adds to what is known about the effect of these variables on ethical orientations across different contexts.



Sidani, Y., Zbib, I., Rawwas, M. and Moussawer, T. (2009), "Gender, age, and ethical sensitivity: the case of Lebanese workers", Gender in Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 211-227.

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