Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 235–256 | Cite as

Does Education Influence Ethical Decisions? An International Study

  • Richard A. Bernardi
  • Caryn L. Lecca
  • Jennifer C. Murphy
  • Elizabeth M. Sturgis


This study examined whether having attended a public, private or religious affiliated grade and/or high school influenced a college student’s ethical decision making process. We also examined whether having taken an ethics course in college influences a student’s ethical decision making process. Our sample included 508 accounting students (237 men and 271 women) from Albania, Ecuador, Ireland and the United States. Our analyses indicated no differences in ethical decision making that associated with either grade-or-high-school education. While our data showed no difference in the reported attitudes between students from Ecuador and the United States after controlling for social desirability response bias, we found significant differences between the attitudes students from the United States and students from both Albania and Ireland. While gender was also significant for six of our seven scenarios, social desirability response bias was significant in all of our scenarios.


Primary and secondary education Ethics course 



The authors thank Kim Zamojcin for her editorial assistance on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Bernardi
    • 1
  • Caryn L. Lecca
    • 1
  • Jennifer C. Murphy
    • 1
  • Elizabeth M. Sturgis
    • 1
  1. 1.Gabelli School of BusinessRoger Williams UniversityBristolUSA

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