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Do the Factors of Measuring Moral Intensity Which Apply to Other Professionals, as Determined by Previous Research Works, Apply to Professional Accountants?

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Essay Preview: Do the Factors of Measuring Moral Intensity Which Apply to Other Professionals, as Determined by Previous Research Works, Apply to Professional Accountants?

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PUBLISHED ARTICLE REVIEW SHEET

Author(s), year published, Title of article, Name of periodical: Svanberg, J (2011). How Relevant is the Moral Intensity Concept for Ethics Education and Training? Some Evidence from Practicing Accounting Consultants. International Journal of Business Research, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 9-27

Statement of the Article’s Research Problem:

Do the factors of measuring moral intensity which apply to other professionals, as determined by previous research works, apply to professional accountants?

Goals, Purpose and Significance of the Article:

The purpose of the study was to determine if the established multi-dimension factors that affect moral intensity and moral decision-making for other professionals also affect and are applied by the accounting professionals the same way. The article bears significance because accounting professionals are perceived differently by the public as more morally sensitive and by-the-rulebook professionals. Knowing about the professionals’ perception and actions on ethical issues would help in improving ethical training and education for these professionals.

Framework & Findings of Prior Published Research Reviewed by the Article:

The article mostly referred to a study made by Jones (1991), which stated that moral intensity is consisted of six factors: the magnitude of the consequences, the level of consensus about the moral law, the probability of effect, temporal immediacy, proximity and concentration of effect. There have been a number of studies made stating that these factors may be further reduced to a smaller number. Sweeney and Costello (2009) concluded that the six factors may be reduced to just two: perceived potential harm and perceived social pressure. McMahon and Harvey (2006) revealed that the six factors may be reduced to four. Dukerich, et al.  (2000) also reduced the six factors to just two dimensions. However, studies done by Sweeney and Costello and Dukerich and group did not involve accounting professionals. Also, according to the research, no matter how the six factors may be reduced to a smaller set, the divisions still include the six original factors identified by Jones.

The study also admitted the fact that there have only been a few studies made on the effect of moral intensity on accountants and auditors, as it referred to Sweeney and Costello’s study referring to only two previous studies.

According to the study, ‘people react differently to ethical issues depending on how severe the ethical problems are perceived to be (Svanberg, 2011: 9).’ The more intense the moral issues are on a certain situation, the higher the moral reasoning that happens.

Framework of the Article:

The article used the factors established by Jones and studied how they relate to accountants. It also studied if the six factors may be reduced to a smaller set which would be more applicable to professional accountants.

Research Design and Method:

Type of Inquiry

Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research

Both Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Research design

An email survey was sent to 3 762 Swedish accounting consultants. Responses were received from 31% of the participants. The survey distributed consisted of ethical situations and related questions, which was developed from Thorne (2000), ‘who has developed an accounting specific variant of Rest’s (1979) Defining Issues Test, to measure accountant’s moral reasoning (Svanberg, 2011: 15)’

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