Ethical Decision-Making of Accounting Students: Evidence from an Australian Setting

Journal of Business Ethics Education 9:51-78 (2012)
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Abstract

This study investigates accounting students’ ethical decision-making judgments and behavioral intentions. The Multidimensional Ethics Scale (MES) was used to measure the extent to which a hypothetical behavior was consistent with three moral criteria (Moral Equity, Relativism and Contractualism). The study specifically tests the differences in ethical decision-making between students who have been exposed to a dedicated ethics unit of study compared with students who have not studied ethics. The influences of culture and gender on students’ ethical decision-making are also addressed in the study. Ethical decision-making was assessed via three case studies describing moral dilemmas that an individual, business or professional person might face. The results provide support for the MES and the value added from incorporating a dedicated ethical decision-making unit in the accounting curriculum. The results also support prior evidence of gender bias and the impact of cultural differences on ethical decision-making

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