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Ethics Training Approaches in Accountants’ Continuing Professional Education

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Title:Ethics Training Approaches in Accountants’ Continuing Professional Education
Authors:Cote, Jane
Latham, Claire
Keywords:ethics training
accounting continuing professional education
giving voice to values
professional values
Date Issued:27 Aug 2018
Abstract:Accountants perform a critical social function of engendering public trust in corporate reporting. As such, ethical misconduct committed by accountants tends to have a broader impact and be viewed as damaging to society as a whole. Mandated continuing ethics training by professional and industry regulators underscores the import of accountants’ ethical behavior; however, there exists uncertainty as to how best to conduct ethics training so that it achieves its goal of enhancing ethical capability. Our research evaluates the effectiveness of two ethics training approaches adopted in accounting continuing professional education ethics workshops. In one set of workshops, instructors employ a traditional accounting ethics training approach, whereas in the other set, instructors incorporate an action-oriented training approach. Our results indicate participants who underwent the action-oriented training are significantly more likely to refuse to concede to the client in a questionable and pressured setting than individuals who participated in the traditional ethics training. As far as we are aware, this is the first study that compares two pedagogical approaches to ethics training in the continuing professional education setting, the primary positive mechanism the profession uses to enhance ethical action by professional accountants.
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