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Are students from different business majors predisposed to different ethical sensitivities?

O'Leary, Conor & Hannah, Frances M. (2008) Are students from different business majors predisposed to different ethical sensitivities? Corporate Ownership and Control, 6(1), pp. 254-263.

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Abstract

Business graduates leave university equipped with core skills necessary to succeed in their chosen environment. One of these is an ethical perspective. Financial institutions and accounting firms are the major employers of business graduates. They assume a basic understanding of concepts when designing training for their new employees. However, business graduates are not a homogeneous group and this study examines whether the ethical sensitivities of graduates can differ depending upon their business major selected.

Two groups of final year business students (270 in total), one majoring in accounting (Acc), 155 students, one in banking and finance (B&F), 115 students, were selected and their ethical attitudes tested by way of business vignettes. Even though they had received the same level of ethics training in their course, significant differences were discovered. Both individually, and when formed into groups (Acc 58 groups, B&F 57 groups), accounting majors appeared more ethical than their B&F counterparts. Also, as a cohort, accounting majors offered significantly more consistent responses. The B&F students appeared a more disparate group. As instruction level was the same, irrespective of major selected, it would appear the groups are predisposed to differing ethical attitudes to business dilemmas.

The implications of this study are crucial for academics and perspective employers. Ethical training at all levels needs to be tailored specifically to the group being instructed. A standardised model of ethics training for all business students may not be effective.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 18523
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: audit trainees, banking and finance trainees, empirical research, ethical attitudes, predisposition, teaching ethics, HERN
ISSN: 1727-9232
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Virtus Interpress
Deposited On: 06 Mar 2009 15:46
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 14:57

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