Date of Conferral


Date of Award







Aqueil Ahmad


This research tested the theory that cultural heritage affects attitudes toward business-related fraud and, as a consequence, influences ethical decisions. A sample of 695 white-collar employees from a Middle Eastern multinational corporation (MNC), who represented nine world cultures, were asked to evaluate scenarios describing five business frauds--bribery, conflict of interest, embezzlement, management fraud, and industrial espionage--against a 7-point Likert-type scale that measured levels of approval. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the responses revealed those claiming African, Caribbean/South American, European, Middle Eastern, and North American cultural heritage viewed fraudulent behavior with a greater degree of disapproval than did those claiming Asian, Australian/New Zealander, Mediterranean, and Pacific Islander cultural heritage. However, while cultures had dissimilar attitudes to fraud in general, the respondents' attitudes about specific frauds were statistically equivalent when each fraud was individually assessed. In other words, some cultures espoused a less tolerant ethical standard about fraud, but when a particular type of fraud was isolated for personal evaluation, these employees disapproved of the scenarios with relative equality, regardless of their cultural heritage.

When traditional variables of age, education, gender, and occupation were analyzed, only age revealed significant differentiation.

Finally, comparative analysis of the data revealed that in a multicultural business environment, espoused ethical standards are assimilated by the majority, cultural heritage is diffused, and a corporate culture phenomenon influences attitude formation to ethical dilemmas.

Using these results, MNC managers could introduce a focused fraud awareness program to increase their employees' knowledge base about fraud, resulting in greater recognition of deviant conduct, thereby decreasing the potential for undesirable behavior across cultures while simultaneously providing a multicultural approach to solving ethical dilemmas.