Journal of Business Ethics 16 (12-13):1297-1309 (1997)

The need to maintain the public trust in the integrity of the accounting profession has led to increased interest in research that examines the moral reasoning abilities (MRA) of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). This study examines the MRA of CPAs practicing in small firms or as sole practitioners and the factors that affect MRA throughout their working careers.The results indicate that small-firm accounting practitioners exhibit lower MRA than expected for professionals and that age, gender and socio-political beliefs affect the moral reasoning abilities of small-firm practitioners. We also find that completion of an ethics course in college has a positive impact on MRA. Also, the survey respondents indicate overwhelming support for including ethics courses within the business curriculum. Finally, the fact that those accountants with the lowest MRA are the least supportive of ethical training may indicate the need for mandatory, rather than optional, training in ethics both in university and Continuing Professional Education courses.
Keywords Philosophy   Ethics   Business Education   Economic Growth   Management
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1005754201952
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