Empirical Evidence of Group Impact in the Context of Ethical Decision Making

O'Leary, Conor (2007) Empirical Evidence of Group Impact in the Context of Ethical Decision Making. In Second Innovation in Accounting and Corporate Governance Education Conference : Learning for the new millennium: challenging tomorrow today, Jan 31 –Feb 2, Hobart, Australia.

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Recent accounting scandals involving the collapse of large corporate firms have brought into question the adequacy of ethics education within accounting programs. This paper investigates the ethical decisions of accountancy students and in particular analyses the effect of group (as opposed to individual) decision-making on ethical decisions. Two classes of final year accountancy students were presented with five (5) ethical vignettes which they completed as individuals. The two classes were subsequently divided into groups of 3 participants and each group completed the same survey instrument. Group responses yielded a significantly more ethical attitude in three of the five scenarios, the other two displaying no significant difference. Evidence also exists however of groups restraining potential whistleblowing, suggesting group work can have both a positive and negative effect.

The critical implication of this finding is in relation to how accounting educators attempt to convey the ethical message. Many accounting programs place emphasis on group work. Group work may enhance students’ abilities to work as a team and may be an effective means of producing the optimal decision in complex areas such as ethical decision-making but may on occasion retard highly ethical individuals

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ID Code: 12295
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
ISSN: ISBN: 9781862953758
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 05 Feb 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:31

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