Do Gender, Educational Level, Religiosity, and Work Experience Affect the Ethical Decision-Making of U.S. Accountants?

29 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2008 Last revised: 6 May 2014

See all articles by A. Craig Keller

A. Craig Keller

Missouri State University

Katherine Taken Smith

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-College of Business

Murphy Smith

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-Department of Accounting

Abstract

Accounting plays a key role in the social and economic progress of a nation. Ethical standards are a hallmark of the accounting profession. An important question is what factors affect the ethical choices made by accountants. Past research suggests that factors such as gender, educational level, religiosity, and work experience may be related to the development of a person's ethical standards. This study attempts to do two things. First, the study provides a short review of contemporary ethical models, including the hermeneutical model. Second, the study examines factors affecting a person's ethical perspectives. Understanding the factors which shape the ethical standards of future accountants will help educational institutions develop appropriate ethics curriculum and help firms develop appropriate ethics training for their employees. Failure to bring appropriate ethical standards to the workplace will most assuredly hamper the profession's time-honored commitment to serve the public interest. The findings suggest that there are differences in individual ethical standards based on gender, college level (graduate vs. undergraduate), religiosity, and work experience.

Keywords: business ethics, ethical decision-making, gender issues

JEL Classification: M41, M14

Suggested Citation

Keller, A. Craig and Smith, Katherine Taken and Smith, Murphy, Do Gender, Educational Level, Religiosity, and Work Experience Affect the Ethical Decision-Making of U.S. Accountants?. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 18(3): 299-314, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1264036

A. Craig Keller

Missouri State University ( email )

Springfield, MO 65804
United States

Katherine Taken Smith

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-College of Business ( email )

6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
United States

Murphy Smith (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-Department of Accounting ( email )

6300 Ocean Dr
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
United States

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