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Moral Intensity and Ethical Decision-making: An Empirical Examination of Undergraduate Accounting and Business Students

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  • Breda Sweeney
  • Fiona Costello
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    Abstract

    Ethical decision-making is theorised to consist of four stages: identification of an ethical dilemma, ethical judgement, ethical intentions and ethical actions. The moral intensity of the situation has been found to influence the ethical decision-making process. Using a survey consisting of four scenarios, this study examined the relationship between perceived moral intensity and the first three stages of the ethical decision-making process for undergraduate accounting and other business students. Findings showed that the nature of the ethical dilemma in the scenarios impacted on perceived moral intensity and the ethical decision-making process. Moral intensity was found to be multi-dimensional in the study and the social consensus component of moral intensity demonstrated the strongest relationship with the ethical decision-making process. Differences were found between accounting and non-accounting students, though gender was not found to be significant. Implications of the findings and areas for future research are discussed in the paper.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Accounting Education.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 75-97

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:accted:v:18:y:2009:i:1:p:75-97

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    Related research

    Keywords: Ethical decision-making; moral intensity; moral issues; ethics education;

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