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Does ethics instruction make a difference?

Advances in Accounting Education

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1458-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-519-2

Publication date: 27 June 2008


It is broadly accepted that ethics should be incorporated into accounting programs. Most CPA firms rely on colleges and universities to teach ethical behavior. Utilizing a quasi-experimental approach, this chapter examines the effectiveness of ethics instruction delivered via a combination of lecture and active learning methods. Specifically, the impact of ethics instruction on behavior in business settings is investigated. Though similar studies have addressed this issue, this study tests the effectiveness of a particular curriculum in a post-Enron environment. Further, a new instrument to measure moral reasoning ability in work situations is introduced. The study's findings suggest that ethics instruction is effective in increasing moral reasoning ability, particularly in upper-level accounting courses such as accounting information systems and auditing.


Delaney, J. and Coe, M.J. (2008), "Does ethics instruction make a difference?", Schwartz, B.N. and Catanach, A.H. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Education (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 233-250.



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