Contrasting the Moral Reasoning Abilities of Private Sector and Federal Government Sector CPAs: An Empirical Investigation
The purpose of this study is to determine if any differences exist in the moral reasoning abilities of CPAs who work in the private sector as compared to CPAs who work in the federal government sector. The interests in the ethics of CPAs in particular and accountants in general have catapulted in recent years due to high profile financial corruptions involving many top U.S. companies. This study explores the levels of moral reasoning abilities of federal government sector CPAs and private sector CPAs to determine if there any difference in the cognitive moral development between the subjects. Literature review was unable to find earlier studies that compared similar situated groups of CPAs. This study examined the extent to which institutional context influences moral reasoning. Kohlberg’s (1969) moral development theory serves as the foundation for the study and Rest’s (1979) Defining Issues Test-2 instrument measures the level of moral reasoning abilities of the participating groups. Results indicate that private sector CPAs have a lower P-score than government sector CPAs but are not statistically significant.
Keywords: Moral Reasoning, Ethics, Accounting Ethics, Moral Development, Private and Government CPA's Moral Reasoning
Dr. H. Anthony Crossman
Doctoral Student, H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University
Dr. Tom Griffin
Professor of Decision Sciences, H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business, Nova Southeastern University
Managerial Issues, etc.
Dr. Qidong Cao
Professor of Quantitative Methods, Winthrop University