, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 209-220

Linking Culture and Ethics: A Comparison of Accountants’ Ethical Belief Systems in the Individualism/Collectivism and Power Distance Contexts

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Abstract

This study uses accounting professionals from an international setting to test the individualism and power distance cultural dimensions developed by Hofstede [Culture’s Consequences (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA) 1980]. Six countries, which appropriately represented high and low values on the Hofstede dimensions, were chosen for the survey of ethical beliefs. Respondents (n = 249) from the six countries were requested to supply their agreement/disagreement with eight questionable behaviors associated with the work environment. Each of these behaviors contained an individualism and/or power distance cultural component for the responding accountants to consider. The results of the cultural analysis indicated significance on five of the eight survey items. Results lend support for the presence of the individualism cultural element in the ethical responses of the accountants surveyed.