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Accountants' Weak Ethical Reasoning

Does Selection-Socialization Help to Explain Accountants' Weak Ethical Reasoning?
Journal of Business Ethics 42: 71-81, 2003.
2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Mohammad J. Abdolmohammadi
William J. Read
D. Paul Scarbrough

Read the attached article and provide feedback on the following questions:

1. Explain the purpose of the article and the research method used

2. Explain the major conclusions of the article

3. What is your opinion on these conclusions?

4. Do you think selection socialization exists in public accounting?

5. Do you think accountants have certain characteristics, as indicated in the article? Why or why not?

6. If you agree, what encourages these characteristics?

7. Can that be changed? Should it be changed?

8. If you agree with the article, how can public accounting firms benefit from these findings? If you disagree with the article, what are the implications for public accounting and accounting education?

9. What is your alternative explanation of these findings?

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Solution Preview

1. Explain the purpose of the article and the research method used
The purpose of the article is point out that a disproportionately high level of Sensing/Thinking cognitive style accountants is hired. This is the result of selection-socialization effect. The Sensing/Thinking cognitive style is associated with low levels of ethical reasoning. So, accounting firms should consider recruiting cognitive styles associated with higher levels of ethical reasoning. The research method uses was that of survey research in which responses of 91 accountants from the big five accounting firms were surveyed. The instruments used were Rest's Defining Issues Test and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
2. Explain the major conclusions of the article
The major conclusions of the article are that 46 percent recruits into Big-five accounting firms have the Sensing/Thinking cognitive style. This cognitive style leads to relatively low level of cognitive reasoning. Further, the study shows that women recruited into public accounting do not exhibit higher levels of moral reasoning than do men. Also, group decision making in accounting has resulted in insignificant differences between men and women. The Sensing/Thinking cognitive style is ...

Solution Summary

Accountants' Weak Ethical Reasoning is discussed in great detail in this solution.