Ethics in the Accounting Curriculum

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Department or Administrative Unit


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The number of corporate debacles in recent history has been a great concern to the financial community. From Enron to Bear Stearns, the events have highlighted that greed, incompetence, and deception exist systemically. After these and other similar events, the importance of professional ethics intensified. Has the concern for improved ethical behavior compelled academic institutions to provide greater emphasis on ethics in accounting degree programs?

Several findings emerged in this study. First, ethics is more commonly part of the course description than it is to be part of the course title. Second, there is greater emphasis on ethics in undergraduate education than in graduate education. The findings also indicate that the extent to which ethics is included in course descriptions is extremely inconsistent and variable across academic levels and geographical regions. Finally, standalone ethics courses are less common than integration of ethics into one or more courses at both levels and for all geographic regions.


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Journal of Studies in Education