Theoretical Approaches to Research on Ethics in Accounting
C. Richard Baker
Adelphi University - School of Business
Research on Accounting Ethics 1998
Despite the increased emphasis on research on ethics in accounting in recent years, there seems to be a lack of focus in this area of research. This lack of focus has two aspects. The first aspect deals with the question of the subject in the ethical act (i.e., who is it that is making the ethical decision?). The second aspect relates to the object of the ethical act (i.e., what is the goal or purpose of the ethical decision?). This paper attempts to bring a greater degree of focus into research on accounting ethics by looking at the relative degree of emphasis placed by different approaches to research on accounting ethics on these two aspects of ethical issues. A two dimensional classification matrix is proposed which includes a "Decision Maker" dimension" and a "Relational" dimension. The "Decision Maker" dimension classifies research on accounting ethics according to whether the underlying assumption of the research is that the ethical decision is made by an individual acting alone or whether the decision is made by a group. The "Relational" dimension classifies accounting research according to whether the underlying assumption of the research is that the goal of the ethical decision is the welfare of society as a whole or whether the goal is the welfare of the individual.
JEL Classification: M41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 26, 1997
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