Business ethics: Are accounting students aware? A Cross-cultural study of four countries
Agacer, G. M., Vehmanen, P. & Valcarel, L. J. (1997). Business ethics : Are accounting students aware? Cross-cultural study of four countries. EJBO - Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, Vol. 2 (1). Retrieved from http://ejbo.jyu.fi
The basic question addressed in this study is whether accounting students, from four countries located in three different continents, are aware of ethical conduct and if there are any differences in awareness among these groups of students. The subjects are from Mississippi State University (United States), the University of the Philippines (Philippines), the University of Indonesia at Jakarta (Indonesia), and University of Tampere (Finland). Specifically, the study examined the studentïs perception of ethical relative to sixteen cases, each of which describes an ethical dilemma. The results showed that, overall, the students from the four universities differ significantly in their perceptions of ethics. The students from the University of the Philippines indicated the highest degree of ethical awareness. The students from Mississippi State University and the University of Tampere showed almost identical scores. In seven of the sixteen cases, all four groups of students clearly showed ethical awareness. All four groups of students were indifferent of situtations that include training sales force on high-pressured selling techniques and hiring employees away from competitors. All four groups of students found nothing wrong with giving awards to customers based on dollar purchases to maintain customers loyalty. All four groups expressed their strongest disapproval of deceitful actions involving unsubstantiated adverstising claim, using high pollutant material to avoid raising price, and selling a banned carcinogen sleepwar in far flung areas with no means of knowing about the danger if the product. The recent emphasis on the inclusion of ethics in business curricula has given rise to the questions of how aware the business student is already of the subject. If the student has already learned of the difference between right and wrong, then the curricula would be different to that which would be required by student who does not know of this difference. The purpose of such a course would be to give the student some understanding of what would be considered ethical conduct before the student moves into the "real" world, whrere each segment of society is trying to define and apply ethical principles as perceived and required within that segment. Thus, in the business segment, a specific set of rules and accetable patterns of behavior have been developed; bankers, lawyers, accountants, doctors and other professionals have specific codes of ethics to which adherence is expected. The purpose of this study is to examine whether accounting students, from four countries located in three continents, viz., Mississippi State University (MSU), University fo the Philippines (UP) in Manila, University of Indonesia (UI) at Jakarta, and University of Tampere (UT) in Finland area aware of ethical conduct and if there are any differences in awareness among these four groups of accounting students. ...