Rule-Based Moral Reasoning and CPAs' Political Ideology

Posted: 30 Mar 2011

See all articles by Paul W. Allen

Paul W. Allen

Mississippi State University - Meridian

Kevin L. Ennis

Mississippi State University - Meridian

Abstract

Prior research reveals that Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) tend to be very rule-based in their moral reasoning and decision-making relative to non-accounting groups. Lampe and Finn (1992) suggested that the rule-oriented nature of accounting and auditing practice may explain a CPA’s preoccupation with resorting to rules when faced with resolving an ethical issue. In other studies, it has been determined that political liberals tend to be more principled in their moral reasoning and decision-making whereas political conservatives are less principled and more rule-oriented. This study sought to provide empirical evidence as to one plausible factor behind CPAs’ bent toward rule-based moral reasoning. Findings show that CPAs’ rule-based moral reasoning is strongly related to their political ideology. Moving from conservative to moderate to liberal, politically, CPAs are less and less rule-based in moral reasoning. The findings are highly salient to accounting regulators, educators, and recruiters who are working to move the CPA profession toward exercising more principled accounting and auditing judgments.

Keywords: CPA Rule-Based Moral Reasoning, ethical decision-making, politicial ideology, and principled moral reasoning

JEL Classification: M4

Suggested Citation

Allen, Paul W. and Ennis, Kevin L., Rule-Based Moral Reasoning and CPAs' Political Ideology. Academy of Business Research International Meeting 2011 Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1797925

Paul W. Allen

Mississippi State University - Meridian ( email )

1000 Hwy 19 North
Meridian, MS 39307
United States

Kevin L. Ennis (Contact Author)

Mississippi State University - Meridian ( email )

1000 Hwy 19 North
Meridian, MS 39307
United States

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