Pushing Elephants Uphill - Teaching Ethics. It Works!
Recent releases from the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) highlight the importance of ethics education. Academic institutions employ varying methods of teaching ethics and place varying levels of emphasis on ethics teaching during a business/accounting degree. This paper attempts to evaluate whether teaching ethics to final year accountancy students is beneficial. At the commencement of a semester one class of 155 students were given five ethical scenarios on which to make an ethical decision. During the semester they were subject to three different methods of teaching ethics, a traditional lecture/tutorial; use of a computer based interactive case study to work through an ethical dilemma; and, forming groups to complete a group written assignment solving another ethical dilemma. The subjects were subsequently given the original five ethical scenarios and asked to complete them again. In all five instances the mean responses were more ethical after the instruction methodologies (4 significantly so). When asked to evaluate the methodologies the subjects considered all three to have a positive effect on their ethical thinking and the combined effect was more positive than any individual method. Hence it appears teaching ethics can impact positively, the challenge is to find the optimal method(s).
17th National Auditing Conference
Auditing and Accountability