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Personal and moral intensity determinants of ethical decision-making: A study of accounting professionals in Nigeria

Collins Sankay Oboh (Department of Accounting, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2042-1168

Article publication date: 6 March 2019

Issue publication date: 18 March 2019



The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of personal and moral intensity variables on specific processes, namely, ethical recognition, ethical judgment and ethical intention, involved in the ethical decision making (EDM) of accounting professionals.


A structured questionnaire containing four vignettes of ethical dilemmas is used in the paper to obtain data from 329 accounting professionals. The data are analyzed using Pearson correlation matrix, independent sample t-test, one-way analyses of variance and multiple regression estimation techniques.


The findings of the paper suggest that age, economic status, upbringing, moral idealism and relativism, magnitude of consequence and social consensus are significant determinants of the EDM process of accounting professionals.

Practical implications

The paper provides evidence to guide accounting regulatory bodies on ways to strengthen extant measures that ensure strict compliance with ethics codes among accounting professionals in Nigeria.


The paper provides support for Kohlberg’s cognitive reasoning and moral development theory and Rest’s EDM theoretical model, which will aid the development of a structured curriculum for accounting ethics instruction in Nigeria, as hitherto, there is yet to be a provision for a stand-alone ethics course in the undergraduate accounting programs in Nigeria.



Oboh, C.S. (2019), "Personal and moral intensity determinants of ethical decision-making: A study of accounting professionals in Nigeria", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 148-180.



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