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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Mike Chen-ho Chao, Fuan Li and Haiyang Chen

Motivated by the heated discussion with regard to the Chinese milk powder incident, this paper aims to explore the determinants of Chinese managers’ moral judgment. Are…

Abstract

Purpose

Motivated by the heated discussion with regard to the Chinese milk powder incident, this paper aims to explore the determinants of Chinese managers’ moral judgment. Are Chinese professional managers’ moral judgments on an ethical dilemma influenced by their commitment to the norms and values recognized by a prestigious professional association outside of China? Do Chinese managers’ moral development and level of relativism impact their ethical decisions?

Design/methodology/approach

A structured survey was conducted, generating 544 valid responses from Chinese managers.

Findings

The results showed that moral maturity and relativism, independently and together, were significantly related to Chinese managers’ moral judgment on a hypothetical business dilemma, though no significant effect was found for their commitment to ethics codes.

Originality/value

The findings confirm the important role of moral development and relativism in Chinese mangers’ moral judgment and suggest the need for further research on the impact of professional ethics codes.

Details

Nankai Business Review International, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8749

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2011

William E. Shafer and Richard S. Simmons

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of organizational ethical culture on the ethical decisions of tax practitioners in mainland China.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of organizational ethical culture on the ethical decisions of tax practitioners in mainland China.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a field survey of practicing public accountants.

Findings

As hypothesized, certain dimensions of ethical culture had highly significant effects on intentions to engage in aggressive tax minimization strategies. Cultures characterized by strong ethical norms and incentives for ethical behavior significantly reduced the reported likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior in a high moral intensity case. In a low moral intensity case, intentions to engage in questionable behavior were significantly higher when participants felt that top managers in their firm were unethical and rewarded unethical behavior. Relativism judgments (judgments of what is traditionally or culturally acceptable or acceptable to one's family) emerged as the strongest determinant of behavioral intentions across both cases. Participants also appeared highly sensitive to questions regarding what is traditionally or culturally acceptable in Chinese tax practice.

Originality/value

This is the first study of ethical decision making among tax practitioners in mainland China, and the findings add to a growing body of literature documenting the significant effects of organizational ethical context on public accountants' decision making processes. This has important implications for CPA firms, suggesting that proactive steps should be taken to promote supportive ethical contexts. The findings for the effects of relativism judgments raise concerns regarding the ethical decisions of Chinese tax practitioners, implying they are likely to engage in unethical behavior if they feel such behavior is common in their cultural environment.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2020

Collins Sankay Oboh, Solabomi Omobola Ajibolade and Olatunde Julius Otusanya

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1985-2517

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2013

Mingzhi Liu

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of Chinese auditors' personal values (guanxi and ethical orientations) on their ethical reasoning (ethical judgments

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of Chinese auditors' personal values (guanxi and ethical orientations) on their ethical reasoning (ethical judgments and behavioral intentions). In addition, this study aims to explore the joint effect of guanxi and ethical orientation on auditors' ethical reasoning.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on a field survey of 191 auditors working in Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms that operate in the People's Republic of China (China).

Findings

The main findings indicate that guanxi and relativism orientations negatively associate with, while idealism orientation positively associates with, auditors' ethical judgments and behavioral intentions. However, when decomposing the overall ethical judgment into three judgment groups, the main effects of guanxi and ethical orientations on auditors' ethical judgments become marginal and those effects fully hold only when using acceptability as criteria to judge questionable behavior in the vignettes. In addition, the results of the joint effect of guanxi and ethical orientations indicate that guanxi orientation weakens both the positive effect of idealism and the negative effect of relativism orientations on auditors' ethical reasoning.

Originality/value

This study contributes the literature by investigating the ethical reasoning of auditors in a country with a relatively weak legal system that relies on guanxi (literally, interpersonal relationships and connections) culture to operate business. Furthermore, this study extends the literature by documenting the moderating effect of guanxi orientation on the relation between auditors' ethical orientation and their ethical reasoning.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 28 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2014

Suhaiza Ismail

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of ethical ideologies on ethical judgments of future Malaysian accountants in general situations and based on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of ethical ideologies on ethical judgments of future Malaysian accountants in general situations and based on the legality of the situations. The examination covers the relationships of both the specific ethical dimension (i.e. idealism and relativism) and the specific categories of ideology (i.e. absolutist and subjectivist) on ethical judgments.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a questionnaire survey that comprises Ethical Position Questionnaire and ethical dilemma vignettes, 396 usable responses were received. In achieving the objectives, multivariate analysis of variance, correlations and univariate analysis of variance were performed.

Findings

The study discovered a significant impact of ethical ideology on judgments regardless of the legality of the cases. In addition, the study found a significant positive and negative impact of idealism and relativism, respectively, on ethical judgment. Moreover, the study reported that absolutists are stricter whilst situationists are more lenient in making ethical judgments compared to other ideologies.

Originality/value

The present study investigated the effect of ethical ideologies on ethical judgment, in general, as well as the effect on ethical judgment based on the legality of the ethical dilemma. This study also considered the effect of the two dimensions of ethical ideology – idealism and relativism – on ethical judgment and captured the four categories of ideology based on the taxonomy of ethical ideologies.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 3 May 2018

Stuart Thomas

Using experimental scenarios, the current study suggest that the management accountants’ professional attributes social obligation, professional autonomy, professional…

Abstract

Using experimental scenarios, the current study suggest that the management accountants’ professional attributes social obligation, professional autonomy, professional affiliation, and professional dedication are associated with three ethical rationales that have been identified as playing important roles in ethical judgment, the perception of the ethicality of an action; moral equity, contractualism, and relativism. Understanding these issues will assist in determining the management accounting professional attributes that should be fostered in encouraging the ethical judgments of management accountants since research indicates that the moral equity and contractualism rationales are consistent with individuals at the post-conventional stage of ethical development and more ethical judgments while the relativism rationale is consistent with the conventional stage of moral development and less ethical judgments.

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-973-9

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2019

Suhaiza Ismail and Zuhudha Rasheed

This paper aims to identify the influence of personal factors on the ethical judgement of future accountants in Malaysia. In particular, there are two research objectives…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the influence of personal factors on the ethical judgement of future accountants in Malaysia. In particular, there are two research objectives for this study: first, to investigate the influence of ethical ideology on the ethical judgement of accounting students and second, to investigate the influence of emotional intelligence (EI) on ethical judgement.

Design/methodology/approach

The respondents of the study were final year undergraduate accounting students from three public universities in Malaysia. A survey questionnaire comprising instruments about ethical ideology, EI and ethical judgement was distributed. A total of 205 responses were received and were deemed as useable. To achieve the research objectives, multiple regression was performed.

Findings

The findings indicate that idealism and EI have a positive influence on the ethical judgement. In contrast, the study discovered that relativism influences ethical judgement negatively.

Originality/value

This study fills the research gap as research on personal factors on the ethical judgement of future accountants is very limited and scarce. It gives insights to the various parties concerning how to enhance ethical judgement among future accountants, which ultimately will improve the credibility of the accounting profession.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2002

Kiran Karande, C.P. Rao and Anusorn Singhapakdi

A recent article pointed out that “past research has paid relatively little attention to the sources of individuals’ moral philosophies from either a conceptual or an…

Abstract

A recent article pointed out that “past research has paid relatively little attention to the sources of individuals’ moral philosophies from either a conceptual or an empirical standpoint” and investigated the determinants of idealism and relativism among American marketers. A literature review indicates that there is even less theoretical and empirical cross‐cultural investigation of moral philosophies. As more and more companies are expanding into foreign markets, problems related to cross‐national ethics and social responsibility are becoming increasingly prevalent. Therefore, this study proposes a framework explaining the differences in the idealism and relativism of American, Malaysian, and Australian marketers based on: country differences (cultural differences and differences in economic and legal/political environment); corporate ethical values; and gender and age of the marketer. Results indicate that there are differences in the level of idealism and relativism exhibited by marketers from the three countries. Irrespective of country, corporate ethical values are positively related to the idealism and negatively related to the relativism of marketers. Also, irrespective of country, women are more idealistic than men, and relativism increases with age. Implications are offered and avenues for future research suggested.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 36 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-807-0

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Denni Arli, Fandy Tjiptono and Warat Winit

The present study aims to examine the similarities and differences between young consumers in Indonesia and Thailand based on actionable and strategy-yielding marketing…

Abstract

Purpose

The present study aims to examine the similarities and differences between young consumers in Indonesia and Thailand based on actionable and strategy-yielding marketing variables (e.g. Machiavellianism, ethical orientations, trust, opportunism and materialism) and, second, it examined the impact of these variables on consumer ethics.

Design/methodology/approach

A convenience sample of university students from a large private university in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) and a large public university in Chiang Mai (Thailand) were asked to complete a survey that incorporated scales to measure consumers’ ethical beliefs, specifically, Machiavellianism, ethical orientation, opportunism, trust and materialism, as well as demographic classification questions.

Findings

The findings showed that young Indonesian and Thai consumers display similarities on most of the constructs. Moreover, the study found that personal moral philosophies (i.e. idealism and relativism) and trust strongly influence their judgment in ethically intense situations in both countries.

Research limitations/implications

The current study has several limitations, especially the use of convenience sampling that may limit the generalizability of the findings. Students in Indonesia and Thailand may behave differently from general consumers or other cohorts with regards to their ethical judgments.

Practical implications

Because personal ethical positions are developed over a lifetime of experiences in dealing with and resolving moral issues, schools and universities should intervene and educate youth on acting in ways that are consistent with moral rules. Currently, universities and schools in Indonesia and Thailand and many other countries in developing countries do not promote this knowledge to students.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies exploring consumer ethics in Indonesia and Thailand.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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