Measuring the Ethical Propensities of Accounting Students: Mach IV versus DIT

Abstract

This study responds to Bay and Greenberg's (Bay, D.D. and Greenberg, R.R. (2001). The relationship of the DIT and behavior: A replication. Issues in Accounting Education 10(3): 367–380) call to investigate alternative psychometric instruments to measure ethical behavior other than the heavily relied upon Defining Issues Test. The Mach IV scale (Christie, 1970) has been cited in more than 500 published psychological studies; however, it has not been used extensively in the accounting ethics research. This study provides some preliminary evidence on the use of the Mach IV scale in an accounting ethics context. Similar to ethics studies in other academic disciplines, results across two dependent measures indicate accounting students high in Machiavellianism are more likely to view questionable ethical behavior as acceptable. The research findings also indicate that the Machiavellian construct appears to be a better predictor of ethical propensities in comparison to the commonly used Defining Issues Test. The paper concludes with a discussion on how these reported research findings impact the accounting profession and accounting education.

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Correspondence to Kelly Richmond Pope.

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Richmond Pope, K. Measuring the Ethical Propensities of Accounting Students: Mach IV versus DIT. J Acad Ethics 3, 89–111 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-005-9000-2

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Keywords

  • Business Ethic
  • Accounting Profession
  • Accounting Student
  • Ethical Choice
  • Accounting Ethic