Business ethics research - a good sign

A little update on my research. With the help of a couple research partners, we developed and tested an instrument for measuring ethical perspectives. These six perspectives are altruism, utilitarianism, tribalism, Machiavellianism, Hedonism, and Rational Egoism. In the case of rational egoism, the items are consistent with Objectivism's ethical beliefs.

This instrument is designed to measure the amount participants agree or disagree with various statements consistent with each ethical perspective. Philosophers, such as Diana Hsieh, vetted the statements for accuracy (I do not presume that she supports or does not support the final version of the instrument, but she did have many valuable comments that helped to improve it).

Of over 200 business students, split evenly between undergraduate and graduate, the rational egoist perspective had the highest average ranking of the six perspectives (although most individuals still utilize mixed perspectives.)

Overall, I see this as good news. While its true that most individuals are confused about ethics, I believe that business students in particular are receptive to Objectivist ethics.

I also plan on expanding on this research stream, by improving the instrument, discovering how well it fits within current theory, and how well it predicts behaviors of business folks.


  1. That's great news. What viewpoint came in second? Was it close?

  2. For the explicit ethical perspectives, utilitarian was the second highest with roughly 4.6 on a 7 point scale versus the rational egoist's 4.9. There was a second measure for implicit beliefs where altruism and tribalism were virtually tied at 4.5 versus the 5.0 for the egoist perspective.

  3. I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.