Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 143–150 | Cite as

Some Cross-Cultural Evidence on Ethical Reasoning

  • Judy Tsui
  • Carolyn Windsor
Article

Abstract

This study draws on Kohlberg's Cognitive Moral Development Theory and Hofstede's Culture Theory to examine whether cultural differences are associated with variations in ethical reasoning. Ethical reasoning levels for auditors from Australia and China are expected to be different since auditors from China and Australia are also different in terms of the cultural dimensions of long term orientation, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and individualism. The Defining Issues Tests measuring ethical reasoning P scores were distributed to auditors from Australia and China including Hong Kong and The Chinese Mainland. Results show that auditors from Australia have higher ethical reasoning scores than those from China, consistent with Hofstede's Culture Theory predictions.

auditors ethical reasoning Hofstede's culture theory Kohlberg's cognitive moral development theory 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnold, D. and L. Ponemon: 1991, ‘Internal Auditors' Perceptions of Whistle-Blowing and the Influence of Moral Reasoning: An Experiment’, Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 10, 1-15.Google Scholar
  2. Bain, N. and D. Band: 1996, Winning Ways through Corporate Governance (MacMillan Press Ltd., London).Google Scholar
  3. Blalock, H. M. Jr. (eds.): 1979, Social Statistics (McGraw-Hill).Google Scholar
  4. Colby, A. and L. Kohlberg: 1987, The Measurement of Moral Judgement (Cambridge University Press, New York, NY).Google Scholar
  5. Etherington, L. and L. Schulting: 1995, ‘Ethical Development of Accountants: The Case of Canadian Certificed Management Accounts’, Research on Accounting Ethics, 235-251.Google Scholar
  6. Ferrell, O. C. and L. G. Gresham: 1985, ‘A Contingency Framework for Understanding Ethical Decision Making in Marketing’, Journal of Marketing 49 (Summer), 87-96.Google Scholar
  7. Gul, F. A. and J. Tsui: 1993, ‘A Comparative Study of Auditors' Attitudes to Uncertainty Qualifications: An Empirical Test of the Strong Versus Weak Uncertainty Avoidance Hypothesis’, The International Journal of Accounting 28, 356-364.Google Scholar
  8. Gul, F. A. and J. Tsui: 1996, ‘Auditors' Behaviour in an Audit Conflict Situation: A Research Note on the Role of Locus of Control and Ethical Reasoning’, Accounting, Organizations and Society 21(1), 41-51.Google Scholar
  9. Harrison, G. L.: 1992, ‘The Cross-Cultural Generalizability of the Relation Between Participation, Budget Emphasis and Job-related Attitudes’, Accounting, Organizations and Society 17(1), 1-15.Google Scholar
  10. Hofstede, G. H.: 1980, Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values (Beverly Hills, Sage, CA).Google Scholar
  11. Hofstede, G. H.: 1991, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (McGraw-Hill, London).Google Scholar
  12. Hofstede, G. H.: 1997, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (McGraw Hill, London).Google Scholar
  13. International Federation of Accountants (IFAC): 1999, Guidelines on Ethics for Professional Accountants (IFAC, New York).Google Scholar
  14. Kite, D., T. Louwers and R. Radtke: 1996, ‘Ethics and Environmental Auditing: An Investigation of Environmental Auditors' Levels of Moral Reasoning’, Behavioral Research in Accounting 8 (Supplement), 200-214.Google Scholar
  15. Kohlberg, L.: 1969, ‘Stages and Sequences: Cognitive Developmental Approach to Socialization’, in D. A. Goslin (ed.), Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research (Rand McNally, Chicago), pp. 347-480.Google Scholar
  16. Kohlberg, L., C. Levine and D. Hewer: 1983, Moral Stages: A Current Formulation and a Response to Critics (Karger, New York).Google Scholar
  17. Ma, H. K.: 1988, ‘Objective Moral Judgement in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and England’, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 19(1), 78-95.Google Scholar
  18. Mautz, R. K. and H. A. Sharaf: 1961, The Philosophy of Auditing (American Accounting Association).Google Scholar
  19. Perera, M. H. B.: 1989, ‘Towards a Framework to Analyze the Impact of Culture on Accounting’, The International Journal of Accounting 4(1), 42-56.Google Scholar
  20. Ponemon, L. A.: 1990, ‘Ethical Judgements in Accounting: A Cognitive-Developmental Perspective’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting 1, 191-215.Google Scholar
  21. Ponemon, L. A.: 1992a, ‘Ethical Reasoning and Selection-Socialization in Accounting’, Accounting, Organizations and Society 17 (April/May), 239-258.Google Scholar
  22. Ponemon, L. A.: 1992b, ‘Auditor Underreporting of Time and Moral Reasoning: An Experimental-Lab Study’, Contemporary Accounting Research 9(1), 171-189.Google Scholar
  23. Ponemon, L. A. and D. R. L. Gabhart: 1990, ‘Auditor Independence Judgments: A Cognitive Developmental Model and Experimental Evidence’, Contemporary Accounting Research 7(1), 227-251.Google Scholar
  24. Ponemon, L. A. and D. R. L. Gabhart: 1993, Ethical Reasoning in Accounting and Auditing (CGA-Canada Research Foundation).Google Scholar
  25. Rest, J. R.: 1979a, Development in Judging Moral Issues, Minneapolis (University of Minnesota Press, MN).Google Scholar
  26. Rest, J. R.: 1979b, Revised Manual for the Defining Issues Test: An Objective Test of Moral Judgment Development (University of Minnesota Press, MN).Google Scholar
  27. Rest, J. R.: 1986a, Moral Development: Advances in Research and Theory (Praeger, New York).Google Scholar
  28. Rest, J. R.: 1986b, DIT: Manual for the Defining Issues Test (University of Minnesota, Center for the Study of Ethical Development, Minneapolis).Google Scholar
  29. Rest, J. R.: 1993, Guide for the Defining Issues Test-How to Use the Optical Scan Forms and the Centre's Scoring Service (University of Minnesota, Centre for the study of Ethical Development).Google Scholar
  30. Shaub, M. K.: 1994, ‘An Analysis of Factors Affecting the Cognitive Moral Development of Auditors and Auditing Students’, Journal of Accounting Education 12(1), 1-26.Google Scholar
  31. Snarey, J. R.: 1985, ‘Cross-Cultural Universality of Social-Moral Development: A Critical Review of Kohlbergian Research’, Psychological Bulletin, 202-232.Google Scholar
  32. Tsui, J.: 1996, ‘Auditors' Ethical Reasoning: Some Audit Conflict and Cross Cultural Evidence’, International Journal of Accounting 31, 121-133.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy Tsui
    • 1
  • Carolyn Windsor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AccountancyCity University of Hong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Faculty of Commerce and ManagementGriffith UniversityAustralia

Personalised recommendations