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Accounting Ethics Education, Ethical Dilemmas, Ethical Sensitivity, Moral Reasoning
We examine the effect of different contexts in an educational process on measures of ethical sensitivity and levels of moral reasoning of accounting majors in the first Intermediate Accounting course. The educational process compared a context that centers on ethical issues with one that focuses on technical accounting issues. At the end of the semester, we measured students ethical sensitivity and levels of moral reasoning in an environment that does not provide obvious ethical implications. Results from a sample of 193 undergraduate students indicate that those exposed to the ethical context demonstrated higher levels of ethical sensitivity and moral reasoning than students exposed to the technical accounting context. In contrast to prior studies in which participants were asked to respond to an obvious ethical issue, our research instrument contains only subtle clues about a developing ethical dilemma.