An analysis of the association of traditional demographic variables with the moral reasoning of auditing students and auditors
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Accountants may be inadequate moral reasoners (Armstrong, 1987; Ponemon, 1992). Accounting ethics education research has suggested several approaches to improving the moral reasoning of accounting students (Langenderfer & Rockness, 1989; Ponemon & Glazer, 1990). This study uses independent samples of 91 auditing students and 207 auditors to evaluate whether demographic variables traditionally associated with higher levels of moral reasoning in other populations are associated with auditing students' and auditors' moral reasoning. Age and education, demographics traditionally associated with moral reasoning, were nonsignificant for both samples. Moral reasoning scores increased through the third-year staff level, and decreased from the senior through the partner levels. Women, subjects with higher grade point averages, and those who had taken ethics courses demonstrated higher levels of moral reasoning in both samples. The results indicate that accounting educators can influence the moral reasoning of the profession by recruiting and retaining bright students, particularly women, and by designing ethics education interventions that will help accounting students incorporate more than simply rules in making ethical decisions. 1994.
Journal of Accounting Education
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