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Feng, Pei Chun (Petrina)
An empirical study of CPA's moral development, ethical evaluation and ethical intention: A selected group of Taiwanese CPA's.

Order No. 3325876

The perception of accounting professionals having low ethical standards and therefore lacking credibility is evidenced by the many scandals globally over the last ten years including Enron, WorldCom, Merck and Xerox. Thus, developing an understanding of the CPA's moral development and the factors that influence ethical decisions is critical.

This study attempts to extend the research on moral development as a predictor of ethical evaluation and ethical intention of accounting professionals and looks to ascertain the demographic factors that influence moral reasoning, ethical evaluation and ethical intention. This research is the first to examine these questions in the accounting profession in Taiwan. The study first examines the relationship between moral reasoning, measured by the Defining Issues Test (DIT) and the two components of ethical decision- making (ethical evaluation and ethical intention), measured by the three questions of the Multidimensional Ethical Scale (MES). The MES instrument depicts ethical situations for accountants. The study sample is 316 Taiwanese CPA's.

This study has several important findings: (1) CPA's level of moral development was not significantly associated with expressed intention to perform questionable actions. (2) CPA's with a higher level of moral development are not likely to express the intention perform questionable actions. (3) There is a relationship between ethical evaluation and ethical intention. (4) CPA's moral development does not appear to be associated with their age, gender, education level, ethics training or professional levels. (5) CPA's ethical evaluation appears to be associated with their gender, education level or ethics training, but not age or professional level. (6) CPA's ethical intention appears to be associated with their gender or education level, but not age, professional level, or ethics training.

These findings are discussed in the light of Maharishi Vedic Science, which provides a scientific approach to foster moral development through experience of the Unified Field of Nature Law.

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