Making Ethics a Pervasive Component of Accounting Education

By Esmond-Kiger, Connie | Management Accounting Quarterly, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Making Ethics a Pervasive Component of Accounting Education


Esmond-Kiger, Connie, Management Accounting Quarterly


"THERE IS MUCH WORK TO BE DONE TO PREPARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF MANAGERS AND ACCOUNTANTS SO THAT THEY DON'T REPEAT THE TRANSGRESSIONS OF THEIR PREDECESSORS."--PAUL B. MILLER & PAUL R. BAHNSON

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Is it possible to make our students exude ethics? As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." Though it may sound like a "pie in the sky" goal, instilling a maximum level of ethical values and sensitivity in our students is what accounting educators should be striving for. Even if we fall short, the progress we make can only enhance the ethical orientation of our accounting graduates. This article presents several ideas for self-reflective assignments that can be used in the classroom to enhance the ethical awareness and sensitivity of students. Many of these assignments incorporate news articles, trying to take the bad press accountants have suffered in recent years and get something positive from it. Based on comments taken from student essays and the results of a survey administered to students in the "pre-Enron" era versus the current "post-Enron" era, this reflective approach to raising the ethical awareness among students appears to be working.

**********

Historically, there have been many calls for increasing the level of ethics education in the accounting curriculum. These calls turned to screams in the wake of the corporate scandals of the past few years. Many of these screams are coming from accounting professors who are increasingly frustrated with the behavior of some accounting professionals. In his opening statement in testimony before Congress, L. Murphy Smith stated that the leadership of the accounting profession, in practice and in academe, has a responsibility to inculcate ethical behavior and personal integrity in practitioners and students. He also believes there is no classroom that does not offer opportunities to foster and teach ethical behavior and integrity as well as the consequences of their absence. (1) Paul B. Miller and Paul R. Bahnson voice concern that professors are failing to generate from their students any commitment to our profession's long-standing duty to do what is right for the capital markets and the greater economy. (2) G. Peter Wilson, former president of the American Accounting Association, said that educators need to increasingly emphasize within the classroom the two values that have long been the mainstay of the accountant's reputation: integrity and professional skepticism. (3)

The first organized push to incorporate ethics into the business curriculum came in 1979, when the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) made ethics education a requirement for students in business education programs. (4) A more specific focus on ethics in accounting education came from the Bedford Committee, which stated, "Professional accounting education must not only emphasize the needed skills and knowledge, it must also instill the ethical standards and the commitment of a professional." (5) Shortly thereafter, the Treadway Commission and the AICPA added their voices to the demand for ethics to become an integral part of accounting education. (6) In 1989, the AACSB increased the emphasis on ethics by requiring ethics to be taught within the major area of study in business programs. (7)

In response to these calls, educators have incorporated ethics into their curricula in a number of ways, often by using textbook cases, case problems, video presentations, and articles from various publications. (8) We've also seen a debate arise about whether ethics can be taught once students reach college age and arrive at our classroom door. Many believe that a person's ethical beliefs are formed at an early age and may be hard to change. H.Q. Langenderfer and J.W. Rockness, however, consider this notion to be unwarranted, noting that education literature supports the idea that people develop their ethics throughout life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Making Ethics a Pervasive Component of Accounting Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.