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Gender and ethical decision-making in the general insurance industry

Faculty Advisor




ethics, gender, ethical decision-making, age, insurance, code of ethics

Abstract (summary)

The insurance industry has been under tremendous stress and scrutiny in the last decade. Heightened risk-taking by executives, deregulation of the bank and financial systems, and climate change are all stressors that have impacted insurance companies’ survival capacity. In 2016, Fort McMurray, Alberta experienced the most devastating forest fire in the history of this province. To date, this is Canada’s most costly disaster, resulting in unprecedented claims payouts. In facing these challenges, insurance companies must reinvent themselves in many different aspects, including ethics. This study investigates the impact of gender, age and functional role on ethical decision-making within the general insurance industry in Edmonton, Alberta. Much research has been conducted on this topic, particularly gender, but the results have been inconclusive. Some studies have posited that females are more ethical than males while others have concluded that there are little gender differences. None of the prior research concentrated on the insurance industry or the Alberta region. Using a validated survey questionnaire, this study attempts to determine what impact gender, age, and functional role differences play on ethical decision-making within the insurance field. In addition, other variables have been controlled for such as ethnicity, level of education, the presence of a code of ethics, to name a few. Through this study contributions to ethical decision-making literature and practice by discussing the character of ethical training, organizational open communication, leading by example, and the importance of ensuring that university business curriculum includes robust ethics education.

Publication Information

Costouros, Teresa. "Gender and ethical decision-making in the general insurance industry." Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business 9, (2017): 1-24. Retrieved from



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