Influencing ethical development: Exposing students to the AICPA code of conduct [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 16 (8):777-790 (1997)
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Although the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct emphasizes the importance of education in ethics, very little is known about how and when the Code and the topic of ethics can be presented to enhance the effectiveness of ethics-oriented education. The purpose of this research was to provide preliminary evidence about the ethical development of students prior to, and immediately following, such courses. We found that: (1) accounting students, after taking an auditing course which emphasized the AICPA Code, reasoned at higher levels than students who had not taken the course; (2) there were no differences in moral reasoning levels when accounting and non-accounting majors were compared prior to an auditing course; and (3) there was a significant relationship between the Seniors' levels of ethical development and the choice of an ethical versus unethical action. It was concluded that an auditing course emphasizing the 'spirit' of the Code can have a positive impact on the ethical behaviour of some of the future members of the accounting profession.



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