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Professionalism in accounting: a five-factor model of ethical decision-making

Paul Dunn (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada)
Barbara Sainty (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 18 January 2019

Issue publication date: 17 April 2020

1490

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a model of ethical decision-making that applies to accountants and the accounting profession.

Design/methodology/approach

This model is an integration of five factors that influence ethical decision-making by accountants: professional codes of conduct; philosophical orientation; religious orientation; culturally derived values; and moral maturity.

Findings

This model is a synthesis of previous identified factors that influence ethical decision-making and incorporates them into a model that is specific to professional accountants.

Research limitations/implications

The authors develop a set of propositions and explain how this model can be tested and its implications for both the accounting profession and the teaching of business ethics.

Originality/value

This model presents a new way of viewing ethical decision-making by accountants that is predicated on the importance of professional codes of conduct that influence both behaviour and decision-making. The external certification of professional accountants provides a layer of accountability not previously incorporated into ethical decision-making models.

Keywords

Citation

Dunn, P. and Sainty, B. (2020), "Professionalism in accounting: a five-factor model of ethical decision-making", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 255-269. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-11-2017-0240

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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