Psychopathy, Academic Accountants’ Attitudes towards Unethical Research Practices, and Publication Success

Posted: 9 Dec 2012 Last revised: 29 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 3, 2014

Abstract

Psychopathy is characterized by deficits of conscience and empathy, and is measurable in nonclinical populations. It is one of the “Dark Triad” of personality variables, but has received minimal attention in accounting literature, despite obvious implications for fraud. In the practice of empirical research, two sides of the “Fraud Triangle,” motive and opportunity, are in place, awaiting only rationalization. For one high on the psychopathy scale, rationalization of fraud is easy or moot. Widespread fraud exists in scientific research, and studies indicate that accounting is not exempt. I hypothesize and find a positive effect of psychopathy on article publication count in leading accounting journals, mediated by individuals’ greater acceptance of unethical acts in research and publication. Participants are 546 North American accounting faculty who have published in accounting research journals, who are lower on the psychopathy scale than previous samples from other populations. Policy and research implications are discussed.

Keywords: research misconduct, fraud, psychopathy, dark triad, accounting, research publication

JEL Classification: M49

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Charles D., Psychopathy, Academic Accountants’ Attitudes towards Unethical Research Practices, and Publication Success (October 3, 2014). Accounting Review, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2186902 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2186902

Charles D. Bailey (Contact Author)

James Madison University ( email )

Harrisonburg, VA 22807
United States
901 484-0867 (Phone)

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