Accounting educators and practitioners believe that ethics instruction should be incorporated into the accounting curriculum. Methods of incorporation include integrating…
Accounting educators and practitioners believe that ethics instruction should be incorporated into the accounting curriculum. Methods of incorporation include integrating ethics into existing accounting courses or offering a stand-alone ethics course. There are, however, obstacles to meaningful implementation. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss how the two featured chapters in this special section provide examples of two intriguing accounting ethics courses. This chapter outlines the “who” (i.e., who should teach ethics), “what,” and “how” of teaching ethics gleaned from prior literature to lay the foundation for the current chapters and future research. Ultimately, the chapter summarizes “best practice” articles about designing a theme-based ethics course in accounting. Each course: (1) is taught by accounting faculty (i.e., who); (2) includes topics and material likely to resonate with students (i.e., what); (3) is a unique stand-alone course structured in a meaningful manner (i.e., how). Faculty and administrators should find this chapter helpful as it provides materials and guidance that speak directly to the obstacles of ethics course implementation.
The purpose of this chapter is to describe an accounting ethics course whose purpose, in part, is to short circuit the process that leads to foolish ethical decisions by professional accountants. In addressing how to make ethical decisions, the course deliberately includes processes intended to develop wisdom and to impede reflexive decisions that reflect the five fallacies of thinking. The approach described represents an active, engaging approach to increasing dialogical and dialectical reasoning in students’ pursuit of wisdom through individual selection of outside reading, engaging speakers, and the use of ethics accountability groups. The course is adaptable to large and small class settings where the professor desires extensive interaction among students, and it creates an environment designed to help students develop self-chosen principles to guide their professional lives. Students take responsibility for developing self-determined principles to guide their professional lives. Clearly identifying these principles provides students a basis for resisting ethical compromises in their careers. The course focuses students on developing wisdom and recognizing the weaknesses in a purely calculation-based moral reasoning.
The content of ethics education courses is still generally shaped around the presentation of the traditional ethical theories of Western moral philosophy, complemented by…
The content of ethics education courses is still generally shaped around the presentation of the traditional ethical theories of Western moral philosophy, complemented by case studies and discussion of ethical decision-making models. The purpose of courses is still largely geared towards the development of skills in ethical reasoning. Yet developments in surrounding fields, from psychology to learning and leadership development, raise numerous questions about the traditional curriculum. Ethics courses need to be more responsive to psychological factors and to the social realities of workplace contexts, and cognisant of a wider spectrum of ethical concepts. The perspective of virtue ethics remains pertinent, as the broader agenda of ethics courses is to enable students to develop a personal ethical outlook. But ethics courses should also be exploring and incorporating concepts from non-Western philosophies, and incorporating developments in fields such as leadership development.
We use data from a survey of 215 experienced practicing accountants to provide their level of agreement with various content categories of accounting ethics courses. Our…
We use data from a survey of 215 experienced practicing accountants to provide their level of agreement with various content categories of accounting ethics courses. Our results indicate that top choices of content include current ethical issues, professional codes of conduct, ethical judgment and decision-making processes and models, corporate codes of ethics, whistleblower protection, record retention, and theories of ethics. The respondents also somewhat agreed that ethics courses can influence attitudes and behavior, but they were neutral on whether ethics courses can reduce instances of Enron-like fraud. We discuss the implications of these results for accounting education and research.
While the problem of unethical leadership is undoubtedly a global one, the urgency of generating ethical leadership to advance the development of Africa has never been…
While the problem of unethical leadership is undoubtedly a global one, the urgency of generating ethical leadership to advance the development of Africa has never been more evident than it is today. The challenge for higher education in developing ethical leaders is of core importance, as it is responsible for providing the main recruiting ground of business leaders. The current paper reports findings of a qualitative study of postgraduate students’ ethical development at the end of courses in business ethics aimed to enhance moral reasoning and ethical decision-making. The paper aims to ascertain whether stand-alone ethics courses are more effective than integrated ones in achieving academic ethical competency.
The study adopts an idiographic approach which aims at eliciting individual student subjective perceptions of the effects of the direct and indirect courses of ethical instruction on their moral reasoning and ethical practice. The research design broadly follows Mill’s (2017) method of difference.
Findings indicate perceived differences in the relative effectiveness of stand-alone and embedded ethics courses among students but also show that most students hold positive overall evaluations of the effectiveness of the both types of ethics instruction.
Limitations to the study include that it is cross-sectional, involves a small sample of postgraduate students and is restricted to two management courses at one institution of higher learning. Furthermore, while Mill (2017) provides a useful research design in this context, it is not able to indicate causality, as there are other possible unidentified “third variables” that may be the actual cause of student differences between embedded and stand-alone ethics courses. The study is not able to show the durability and transfer of ethical competencies into students’ later working lives.
The study provides a useful practical educational contribution to the extant knowledge in the field in that it suggests that ethical courses aimed at giving students a moral reasoning “toolkit” for ethical decision-making are more effective when delivered in the stand-alone format, whereas practical decision-making skills are best honed by embedded business ethics courses.
The problem of corruption in business and politics in South Africa is widely documented and has been regarded as responsible for creating a serious developmental drag on the alleviation of poverty and quality of lives of the majority of people in the country. The moral/ethical competency and behavior of future business leaders is partly the responsibility of institutions of higher learning. The study aims to find the most effective means of imparting moral awareness in postgraduate students who are likely to take up business leadership positions in their future careers.
The study provides useful contribution to the extant knowledge in the field in the African context in that it suggests that ethical courses aimed at giving students a moral reasoning “toolkit” for ethical decision-making are more effective when delivered in the stand-alone format, whereas practical decision-making skills are best honed by embedded business ethics courses.
This study examines corporate governance and ethics (CGE) education by conducting a survey of academicians and practitioners in the United States. Results indicate that…
This study examines corporate governance and ethics (CGE) education by conducting a survey of academicians and practitioners in the United States. Results indicate that the demand for, and interest in, CGE continues to increase. More universities are planning to provide CGE education and many CGE topics are considered important for integration into the curriculum, although the degree of importance varies between academicians and practitioners. The two prevailing methods of CGE education integration are offering a stand-alone course in CGE or infusion of CGE topics into accounting courses. Results pertaining to the importance, delivery, and topical content of CGE education may be useful to universities that are, or are considering, integrating CGE into their curricula or redesigning their CGE courses. The CGE educational issues addressed in this study should help business schools design curricula to prepare students for the challenges awaiting them in the area of CGE.