The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of ethical ideological orientation (moral idealism and moral relativism), work sector and types of professional membership on the ethical decision-making (EDM) process of professional accountants in Nigeria.
The study obtained primary data from 329 professional accountants with the aid of a structured questionnaire containing four scenarios of ethical dilemmas. The data were analysed using descriptive statistical analysis, independent sample t-test, Pearson correlation analysis and multiple regression techniques.
The results revealed both idealistic and relativistic moral orientation among the accountants surveyed with a higher mean score (>4.0) recorded for moral idealism. Moral idealism was found to have a positive influence, while moral relativism a negative influence on the three stages (ethical recognition, ethical judgement and ethical intention) of EDM examined. Professional accountants with idealistic orientation showed a higher disposition towards making ethical decisions in situations involving ethical dilemmas than those tending towards relativistic orientation. The results also revealed that work sector (private or public) and types of professional membership play significant roles in predicting the EDM process of professional accountants in Nigeria.
The study provides empirical evidence that could be used to support educational and legislative efforts in enhancing the moral ideological orientation of professional accountants, which will, in turn, enhance their EDM processes. The findings could be used to enhance ethics instructions and training of current and prospective professional accountants in educational settings, especially in countries such as Nigeria where there is yet to be a discrete ethics course in the curriculum for accounting undergraduate degree programmes. Professional accounting bodies in Nigeria and other developing countries could use the evidence in this study to strengthen the ethics code for professional accountants.
The study is unique in focussing on professional accountants in developing countries using Nigeria to represent developing countries with high corruption profile and weak institutions and governments and, as such, it contributes to the scarce research output on accounting ethics in developing countries.
We acknowledge all the accountants that participated in the survey. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers and the Journal Editor for their helpful comments.
Oboh, C.S., Ajibolade, S.O. and Otusanya, O.J. (2020), "Ethical decision-making among professional accountants in Nigeria: the influence of ethical ideology, work sector, and types of professional membership", Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 389-422. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFRA-09-2019-0123Download as .RIS
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