Accounting Education, Socialisation and the Ethics of Business

18 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2011

See all articles by John Ferguson

John Ferguson

School of Mangagement, University of St Andrews

David Collison

University of Dundee - Department of Accountancy & Business Finance

D.M. Power

University of Dundee

Lorna Stevenson

University of Dundee - School of Business

Abstract

This study provides empirical evidence in relation to a growing body of literature concerned with the socialisation effects of accounting and business education. A prevalent criticism within this literature is that accounting and business education in the United Kingdom and the United States, by assuming a value-neutral appearance, ignores the implicit ethical and moral assumptions by which it is underpinned. In particular, it has been noted that accounting and business education tends to prioritise the interests of shareholders above all other stakeholder groups. This paper reports on the results of a set of focus group interviews with both undergraduate accounting students and students commencing their training with a professional accounting body. The research explores their perceptions about the purpose of accounting and the objectives of business. The findings suggest that both university and professional students' views on these issues tend to be informed by an Anglo-American shareholder discourse, whereby the needs of shareholders are prioritised. Moreover, this shareholder orientation appeared to be more pronounced for professional accounting students.

Suggested Citation

Ferguson, John and Collison, David J. and Power, David M. and Stevenson, Lorna, Accounting Education, Socialisation and the Ethics of Business. Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 12-29, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1754808 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8608.2010.01607.x

John Ferguson

School of Mangagement, University of St Andrews ( email )

The Gateway
North Haugh
St Andrews, Fife KY16 9RJ
United Kingdom

David J. Collison

University of Dundee - Department of Accountancy & Business Finance ( email )

Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN
United Kingdom
+44(0)1382 344857 (Phone)

David M. Power

University of Dundee ( email )

Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN
United Kingdom
(+44) 1382 344 854 (Phone)
(+44) 1382 224 419 (Fax)

Lorna Stevenson

University of Dundee - School of Business ( email )

University of Dundee
1 Perth road
Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN
United Kingdom

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