Developing Ethical Understanding within an Undergraduate Accounting Degree: A Proposed Model

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    Abstract

    In recent years there has been a large number of corporate governance failures in Australia and internationally. Whilst there are a number of reasons why corporate governance failures occur it has been acknowledged that these corporate collapses were, in a large part, the result of a lack of ethical behaviour on behalf of high level management and accountants (Downes & Russ 2005; Leung & Cooper 2005; Staubus 2005; Zahra, Priem & Rasheed 2005; Vinten 2000). This has led to the call for an even greater emphasis to be placed on ethics education for accounting students (Albrecht et al 2006; Leung & Cooper 2005; Molyneaux 2004).A review of the literature reveals that currently there are two common modes adopted by higher education institutions for teaching ethics in a business curriculum such as accounting. One mode is via a discrete or stand-alone compulsory ethics subject, whilst the other model, more widely adopted in practice, is an integrated or pervasive approach where ethics is taught in a number of different subjects during the degree (Dellaportas 2006; McDonald 2004; Molyneaux 2004). This paper argues that the integrated approach to teaching ethics embedded within individual subjects throughout the degree is not the most effective model (McGrath & Murphy 2006b).Within this paper a hybrid model of accounting ethics education is discussed. The hybrid model proposes a compulsory ethics subject undertaken in the second year in combination with an integrated approach requiring a prescribed ethics curriculum to be incorporated in a laddered and hierarchical manner across each subject presented in the accounting degree. It is proposed that this as yet untested model may overcome the perceived deficiencies of the current approaches to ethics teaching in accounting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLearning for the new millennium
    Subtitle of host publicationChallenging tomorrow today
    EditorsS.F. Shimeld
    Place of PublicationHobart, Australia
    PublisherUniversity Tasmania
    Pages1-7
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)9781862953758
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventInternational Conference on Innovation in Accounting and Corporate Governance Education - Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, Australia
    Duration: 31 Jan 200702 Feb 2007

    Conference

    ConferenceInternational Conference on Innovation in Accounting and Corporate Governance Education
    CountryAustralia
    Period31/01/0702/02/07

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