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Business Students’ Insights into Their Development of Ethical Decision-Making


  • Rosina Mladenovic

    (The University of Sydney Business School)

  • Nonna Martinov-Bennie

    () (Macquarie University)

  • Amani Bell

    (The University of Sydney)


Motivated by the call for more research on students’ perceptions of their ethical development in business education programs, this study examines students’ reflections on how their understanding of ethics was challenged and/or changed, and what facilitated the development of ethical decision-making approaches in a first-year accounting course. The results indicate that students developed more sophisticated and contextualised views of ethical issues in business, government and social contexts including the need to consider their impact on various stakeholders. Students attributed this development to the various elements in the integrated course design including the real cases sourced in current newspaper articles, an ethical decision-making framework with various ethical perspectives, the reflective journal component and the ability to work in groups. These findings have implications for the design of effective ethics education programs in business.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosina Mladenovic & Nonna Martinov-Bennie & Amani Bell, 2019. "Business Students’ Insights into Their Development of Ethical Decision-Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 155(1), pages 275-287, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:155:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10551-017-3523-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-017-3523-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul De Lange & Beverley Jackling & Anne‐Marie Gut, 2006. "Accounting graduates’ perceptions of skills emphasis in undergraduate courses: an investigation from two Victorian universities," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 46(3), pages 365-386, September.
    2. Steven Dellaportas & Sutharson Kanapathippillai & Arifur Khan & Philomena Leung, 2014. "Ethics Education in the Australian Accounting Curriculum: A Longitudinal Study Examining Barriers and Enablers," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 362-382, August.
    3. Nonna Martinov-Bennie & Rosina Mladenovic, 2015. "Investigation of the Impact of an Ethical Framework and an Integrated Ethics Education on Accounting Students’ Ethical Sensitivity and Judgment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 189-203, March.
    4. Samantha Sin & Anna Reid & Alan Jones, 2012. "An Exploration of Students' Conceptions of Accounting Work," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 323-340, December.
    5. Marie H. Kavanagh & Lyndal Drennan, 2008. "What skills and attributes does an accounting graduate need? Evidence from student perceptions and employer expectations," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 48(2), pages 279-300, June.
    6. Roberta Bampton & Christopher Cowton, 2013. "Taking Stock of Accounting Ethics Scholarship: A Review of the Journal Literature," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 549-563, May.
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