PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of personal and moral intensity variables on specific processes, namely, ethical recognition, ethical judgment and ethical intention, involved in the ethical decision making (EDM) of accounting professionals.Design/methodology/approachA structured questionnaire containing four vignettes of ethical dilemmas is used in the paper to obtain data from 329 accounting professionals. The data are analyzed using Pearson correlation matrix, independent sample t-test, one-way analyses of variance and multiple regression estimation techniques.FindingsThe findings of the paper suggest that age, economic status, upbringing, moral idealism and relativism, magnitude of consequence and social consensus are significant determinants of the EDM process of accounting professionals.Practical implicationsThe paper provides evidence to guide accounting regulatory bodies on ways to strengthen extant measures that ensure strict compliance with ethics codes among accounting professionals in Nigeria.Originality/valueThe paper provides support for Kohlberg’s cognitive reasoning and moral development theory and Rest’s EDM theoretical model, which will aid the development of a structured curriculum for accounting ethics instruction in Nigeria, as hitherto, there is yet to be a provision for a stand-alone ethics course in the undergraduate accounting programs in Nigeria.
Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 4, 2019
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