The Impact of Ethics Education on Reporting Behavior

TitleThe Impact of Ethics Education on Reporting Behavior
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMayhew, B, Murphy, P
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Pagination397 - 416
Date Published05/2009
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number0167-4544
AbstractThis article examines the impact of an ethics education program on reporting behavior using two groups of students: fourth year Masters of Accounting students who just completed a newly instituted ethics education program, and fifth year students in the same program who did not receive the ethics training. In an experiment providing both the opportunity and motivation to misreport for more money, the authors designed two social condition treatments – anonymity and public disclosure – to examine whether or to what extent ethical values are internalized by students. They found that when participants are anonymous, misreporting rates were nearly the same regardless of ethics program participation. However, when their reporting behavior is made public, participants who completed the ethics program misreported at significantly lower rates than those who did not receive the ethics program. The results suggest that ethics education does not necessarily result in internalized ethical values, but it can impact ethical behavior.
Full Text