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A Comparison of Cognitive Moral Development of Accounting Students at a Catholic University with Secular University Accounting Students

Description: Previous research has shown that accountants may be inadequate moral reasoners. Concern over this trend caused the Treadway Commission (1987) and the Accounting Education Change Commission (1990) to call for greater integration of ethics into the student's training. Ponemon and Glazer (1990) found a difference in cognitive moral development (CMD) between accounting students at a public university and a private university with a liberal arts emphasis. This study expands Ponemon and Glazer's research by examining two liberal arts universities, one a private, secular institution and one a Catholic institution. The primary research question asks if Catholic university accounting students manifest greater CMD growth than secular university accounting students. Additionally, this study examines and compares the priority that accounting students from the different institutions place on ethical values versus economic values. It was expected that Catholic university accounting students would manifest both greater CMD growth and a greater concern for ethical values over economic values when compared with non-Catholic university accounting students. The study utilized a two-phase approach. In the first phase, an organizational study of two institutions was made to determine how each strives to integrate moral development into their accounting students' education. In the second phase, lower-division and senior accounting students were given three ethical and values related tasks to complete which propose to measure differences in ethical and economic values.
Date: April 1998
Creator: Koeplin, John P. (John Peter)
Partner: UNT Libraries