Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 113, Issue 2, pp 225–241

The Interaction of Learning Styles and Teaching Methodologies in Accounting Ethical Instruction


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1291-9

Cite this article as:
O’Leary, C. & Stewart, J. J Bus Ethics (2013) 113: 225. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1291-9


Ethical instruction is critical for trainee accountants. Various teaching methods, both active and passive, are normally utilised when teaching accounting ethics. However, students’ learning styles are rarely assessed. This study evaluates the learning styles of accounting students and assesses the interaction of teaching methods and learning styles in an ethics instruction environment. The ethical attitudes and preferred learning styles of a cohort (137) of final year accounting students were evaluated pre-instruction. They were then subject to three different teaching methods while studying ethics during an auditing course. When ethical attitudes and preferred learning styles were re-assessed post-instruction, the teaching methods were found to have influenced active learners more than passive ones. Furthermore, when learning styles matched teaching methods used, usefulness was assessed as high but when learning styles and teaching methods differed, usefulness deteriorated significantly. Students displayed a preference for passive learning styles, despite being so advanced in their education. The implications are that instructors should consider learning styles before deciding on appropriate teaching methods, in accounting ethics environments.


ActiveEthical instructionExperientialInteraction of teaching and learningLearning stylesNon-experientialPassiveTeaching methods

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Accounting and Law DisciplineGriffith Business School, Nathan Campus, Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Accounting and Law DisciplineGriffith Business School, Griffith UniversityLoganAustralia