Generation Z and ethicality of advancement in the workplace: a study of Slovenia and Lithuania

    Zlatko Nedelko   Affiliation
    ; Valentina Peleckienė Affiliation
    ; Kęstutis Peleckis Affiliation
    ; Kestutis K. Peleckis Affiliation
    ; Giedrė Lapinskienė   Affiliation
    ; Vojko Potocan   Affiliation


The main purpose of this study was to examine the ethicality of future employees’ attitudes toward advancement in the workplace in Slovenia and Lithuania. This study focuses on students representing young adults from Generation Z as future employees in organizations. Using a survey of work-related issues, we collected 212 answers from Slovenian and 159 from Lithuanian' students from business faculties. We used t-tests and regression analyses to obtain results. We found that the future employees in Slovenia see organizationally beneficial behavior and self-indulgent behavior significantly more acceptable for their advancement, than their Lithuanian peers. No differences exist in the perception of destructive behavior among participants from both countries. Substantial differences in the importance of personal values ​​among Generation Z members in both societies, provide a strong support for the divergence nature of Generation Z across cultures. The impact of personal values on the ethicality of different behavior for advancement in the workplace among future employees in both societies is substantial, but biased and follows different patterns. In Slovenia, the dominant role has power, followed by hedonism, benevolence, security, conformity, tradition, and universalism, while in Lithuania, the dominant role belongs to self-direction, followed by tradition, universalism, security, achievement, and power. This study will help us to understand Generation Z values and their perceptions regarding ethicality of advancement in the workplace and enable organizations to manage the behavior of future employees.

Keyword : Generation Z, personal values, Slovenia, Lithuania, unethical practices, ethicality, behavior, advancement in the workplace

How to Cite
Nedelko, Z., Peleckienė, V., Peleckis, K., Peleckis, K. K., Lapinskienė, G., & Potocan, V. (2022). Generation Z and ethicality of advancement in the workplace: a study of Slovenia and Lithuania. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 23(2), 482–506.
Published in Issue
May 4, 2022
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, personality, and behavior. Open University Press.

Bencsik, A., Shujahat, A., & Juhász, T. (2021). Y–Z in the labour market: Employee perceptions in different cultures (Hungary–Pakistan). Business: Theory and Practice, 22(2), 453–461.

Bulut, S., & Maraba, D. (2021). Generation Z and its perception of work through habits, motivations, expectations preferences, and work ethics. Psychology and Psychotherapy Research Study, 4(4), 1–5.

Buzza, J. S. (2017). Are you living to work or working to live? What Millennials want in the workplace. Journal of Human Resources Management and Labor Studies, 5(2), 15–20.

Cennamo, L., & Gardner, D. (2008). Generational differences in work values, outcomes and person‐organisation values fit. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(8), 891–906.

Dabić, M., Stojčić, N., Simić, M., Potocan, V., Slavković, M., & Nedelko, Z. (2021). Intellectual agility and innovation in micro and small businesses: The mediating role of entrepreneurial leadership. Journal of Business Research, 123, 683–695.

De George, R. T. (1987). The status of business ethics – past and future. Journal of Business Ethics, 6(3), 201–211.

Dimock, M. (2019). Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins. Retrieved May 25, 2021, from

Egri, C. P., & Ralston, D. A. (2004). Generation cohorts and personal values: A comparison of China and the United States. Organization Science, 15(2), 210–220.

Egri, C. P., Ralston, D. A., Murray, C. S., & Nicholson, J. D. (2000). Manager in the NAFTA countries: A cross-cultural comparison of attitudes toward upward influence strategies. Journal of International Management, 6(2), 149–171.

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39–50.

Fratrieova, J., & Kirchmayer, Z. (2018). Barriers to work motivation of Generation Z. Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(2), 28–39.

Furrer, O., Egri, C. P., Ralston, D. A., Danis, W., Reynaud, E., Naoumova, I., Molteni, M., Starkus, A., Darder, F. L., Dabic, M., & Furrer-Perrinjaquet, A. (2010). Attitudes toward corporate responsibilities in Western Europe and in Central and East Europe. Management International Review, 50(3), 379–398.

Gabrielova, K., & Buchko, A. A. (2021). Here comes Generation Z: Millennials as managers. Business Horizons, 64(4), 489–499.

Gino, F., Ayal, S., & Ariely, D. (2009). Contagion and differentiation in unethical behavior: The effect of one bad apple on the barrel. Psychological Science, 20(3), 393–398.

Gomez, K., Mawhinney, T., & Betts, K. (2020). Understanding Generation Z in the workplace. New employee engagement tactics for changing demographics.

Goodpaster, E. (1992). Business ethics. In L. Becker & C. Becker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of ethics (pp. 111–115). Garland Publisher.

Grunbaum, L. (1997). Attitudes of future managers towards business ethics: A comparison of Finnish and American business students. Journal of Business Ethics, 16(4), 451–463.

Guerrero, M., Amorós, J. E., & Urbano, D. (2021). Do employees’ generational cohorts influence corporate venturing? A multilevel analysis. Small Business Economics, 57(1), 47–74.

Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis with readings. Prentice-Hall.

Hochwarter, W. A., Pearson, A. W., Ferris, G. R., Perrewe, P. L., & Ralston, D. A. (2000). A reexamination of Schriesheim and Hinkin’s (1990) measure of upward influence. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60(5), 755–771.

Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (2018). The 6 dimensions of national culture. Retrieved June 7, 2018, from

House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Sage.

Jaffe, E. D., & Tsimerman, A. (2005). Business ethics in a transition economy: Will the next Russian generation be any better? Journal of Business Ethics, 62(1), 87–97.

Janssen, D., & Carradini, S. (2021). Generation Z workplace communication habits and expectations. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 64(2), 137–153.

Jayathilake, H. D., Daud, D., Eaw, H. C., & Annuar, N. (2021). Employee development and retention of Generation-Z employees in the post-Covid-19 workplace: A conceptual framework. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 28(7), 2343–2364.

Jenkins, R. (2015). 15 aspects that highlight how Gen Z is different from Millennials.

Kaptein, M. (2008). Developing a measure of unethical behavior in the workplace: A stakeholder perspective. Journal of Management, 34(5), 978–1008.

Kaptein, M. (2010). The ethics of organizations: A longitudinal study of the U.S. Working population. Journal of Business Ethics, 92(4), 601–618.

Kirchmayer, Z., & Fratričová, J. (2017, May 3–4). On the verge of Generation Z: Career expectations of current university students. In Proceedings of the 29th International Business Information Management Association Conference – Education Excellence and Innovation Management through Vision 2020: From Regional Development Sustainability to Global Economic Growth, Vienna, Austria.

Kirchmayer, Z., & Fratričová, J. (2018, April 25–26). What motivates Generation Z at work? Insights into motivation drivers of business students in Slovakia. In Proceedings of the 31st International Business Information Management Association Conference, IBIMA 2018: Innovation Management and Education Excellence through Vision 2020, Milano, Italy.

Kish-Gephart, J., Treviño, L., Chen, A., & Tilton, J. (2019). Behavioral business ethics: The journey from foundations to future. In Business ethics (Vol. 3, pp. 3–34). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Lu, J., Ren, L., Zhang, C., Liang, M., Abrhám, J., & Streimikis, J. (2020). Assessment of corporate social responsibility performance and state promotion policies: A case study of the Baltic states. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 21(4), 1203–1224.

Mahmoud, A. B., Fuxman, L., Mohr, I., Reisel, W. D., & Grigoriou, N. (2021). “We aren’t your reincarnation!” workplace motivation across X, Y and Z generations. International Journal of Manpower, 42(1), 193–209.

Maloni, M., Hiatt, M. S., & Campbell, S. (2019). Understanding the work values of Gen Z business students. The International Journal of Management Education, 17(3), 100320.

Minton, E., & Khale, L. (2014). Belief systems, religion, and behavioral economics. Business Expert Press.

Moore, C., Detert, J. R., Trevino, L. K., Baker, V. L., & Mayer, D. M. (2012). Why employees do bad things: Moral disengagement and unethical organizational behavior. Personnel Psychology, 65(1), 1–48.

Moorhead, G., & Griffin, R. (1995). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Houghton Mifflin.

Nunnally, J. (1978). Psychometric theory. McGraw-Hill.

Okoń-Horodyńska, E., Zachorowska-Mazurkiewicz, A., Wisła, R., & Sierotowicz, T. (2020). New approach to create more effective teams in the innovation process in enterprises. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 21(3), 805–825.

Pichler, S., Kohli, C., & Granitz, N. (2021). DITTO for Gen Z: A framework for leveraging the uniqueness of the new generation. Business Horizons, 64(5), 599–610.

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2012). Sources of method bias in social science research and recommendations on how to control it. Annual Review of Psychology, 63, 539–569.

Potočan, V., & Mulej, M. (2007). Transition into innovative enterprise. Faculty of Economics and Business, Maribor, Slovenia.

Ralston, D. A. (2008). The crossvergence perspective: Reflections and projections. Journal of International Studies, 39(1), 27–40.

Ralston, D. A., Egri, C. P., Casado, T., Fu, P., & Wangenheim, F. (2009). The impact of life stage and societal culture on subordinate influence ethics: A study of Brazil, China, Germany, and the U.S. Journal of International Management, 15(4), 374–386.

Ralston, D. A., Egri, C. P., Reynaud, E., Srinivasan, N., Furrer, O., Brock, D., Alas, R., Wangenheim, F., Darder, F. L., Kuo, C., Potocan, V., Mockaitis, A. I., Szabo, E., Gutierrez, J. R., Pekerti, A., Butt, A., Palmer, I., Naoumova, I., Lenartowicz, T., Starkus, A., Hung, V. T., Dalgic, T., Molteni, M., Carranza, M. T. D., Maignan, I., Castro, F. B., Moon, Y. L., Terpstra-Tong, J., Dabic, M., Li, Y. J., Danis, W., Kangasniemi, M., Ansari, M., Riddle, L., Milton, L., Hallinger, P., Elenkov, D., Girson, I., Gelbuda, M., Ramburuth, P., Casado, T., Rossi, A. M., Richards, M., Van Deusen, C., Fu, P. P., Wan, P. M. K., Tang, M., Lee, C. H., Chia, H. B., Fan, Y. Q., & Wallace, A. (2011). A twenty-first century assessment of values across the global workforce. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(1), 1–31.

Rupp, D. E., Wright, P. M., Aryee, S., & Luo, Y. (2015). Organizational justice, behavioral ethics, and corporate social responsibility: Finally the three shall merge. Management and Organization Review, 11(1), 15–24.

Schenarts, P. J. (2020). Now arriving: Surgical trainees from Generation Z. Journal of Surgical Education, 77(2), 246–253.

Scholtz, C., & Rennig, A. (2019). The Generation Z in Europe: Inputs, insights and implications (the changing context of managing people). Emerald Publishing.

Schroth, H. (2011). It’s not about winning, it’s about getting better. California Management Review, 53(4), 134–153.

Schroth, H. (2019). Are you ready for Gen Z in the workplace? California Management Review, 61(3), 5–18.

Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values – theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 25, 1–65.

Seibert, S. A. (2021). Problem-based learning: A strategy to foster Generation Z’s critical thinking and perseverance. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 16(1), 85–88.

Terpstra-Tong, J., & Ralston, D. A. (2002). Moving toward a global understanding of upward influence strategies: An Asian perspective with directions for cross-cultural research. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 19(2), 373–404.

Tolstikova, I., Ignatjeva, O., Kondratenko, K., & Pletnev, A. (2020). Generation Z and its value transformations: Digital reality vs. Phygital interaction. In D. A. Alexandrov, A. V. Boukhanovsky, A. V. Chugunov, Y. Kabanov, O. Koltsova, I. Musabirov (Eds.), Communications in computer and information science: Vol 1242. Digital Transformation and Global Society. DTGS 2020 (pp. 47–60). Springer.

Tormos, R., Vauclair, C., & Dobewall, H. (2017). Does contextual change affect basic human values? A dynamic comparative multilevel analysis across 32 European countries. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(4), 490–510.

Trevino, L. K., den Nieuwenboer, N. A., & Kish-Gephart, J. J. (2014). (un)ethical behavior in organizations. Annual Review of Psychology, 65(1), 635–660.

Trevino, L. K., Weaver, G. R., & Reynolds, S. J. (2006). Behavioral ethics in organizations: A review. Journal of Management, 32(6), 951–990.

Turner, A. (2015). Generation Z: Technology and social interest. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 71(2), 103–113.

Twenge, J. M., Campbell, S. M., Hoffman, B. J., & Lance, C. E. (2010). Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing. Journal of Management, 36(5), 1117–1142.

Vizcaya-Moreno, M. F., & Pérez-Cañaveras, R. M. (2020). Social media used and teaching methods preferred by Generation Z students in the nursing clinical learning environment: A cross-sectional research study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(21), 1–10.

Walters, R. (2020). 91% of Millennial professionals think career progression is a top priority. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from

Weeks, K. P., & Schaffert, C. (2019). Generational differences in definitions of meaningful work: A mixed methods study. Journal of Business Ethics, 156(4), 1045–1061.

Zautraitė, J. (2009). Analysis of ethics management in organizations and possibilities of renewal [master thesis]. Faculty of Public Administration, Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius.

Zhang, Y., Straub, C., & Kusyk, S. (2007). Making a life or making a living? Cross‐cultural comparisons of business students’ work and life values in Canada and France. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 14(3), 174–195.