Factors affecting the cognitive moral development of undergraduate accounting students: Ethics education, internships, volunteerism, and Beta Alpha Psi

Barbara Marie Porco, Fordham University

Abstract

The self-regulatory bodies, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other accounting professionals are concerned that decline of skilled individuals entering accounting will exacerbate the recent proliferation of large-scale accounting blunders and unethical practices. Accounting quality is critical to a secure investment environment. Undergraduate colleges need to be cognizant of the need to educate students in business ethics, as well as the standard business core requirements. Ethical behavior is paramount for the accounting profession; therefore, the students entering the field should be properly prepared. My study endeavored to explain, with greater understanding, the factors that impact students' cognitive moral development and the effect of the college experience on undergraduate students' moral growth. ^ Can you teach ethics? How do internship experiences affect undergraduate students? Does membership in honor fraternities strengthen moral development? Is high moral behavior exhibited through volunteerism or student government activities? The goal of my study was to attempt to examine the factors that influence the cognitive moral development of undergraduate accounting students and in doing so reexamine and interpret the causes of ethical growth in college students. I measured college students' current cognitive moral development stage, as defined by Kohlberg's theory of CMD (cognitive moral development), utilizing the Decisions, Internship, and Volunteerism Assessment (DIVA) instrument. The DIVA, derived from a nationally validated instrument called the Defining Issues Test (DIT), is coupled with a questionnaire that inquires as to students' ethical education, internship experience, membership to Beta Alpha Psi, volunteerism, gender, and student government participation. Responses to the DIVA and the questionnaire should provide information and data as to the relationship to different factors that impact students' cognitive moral development. Ideally, learning the causes of CMD, educators are better equipped to prepare entry-level members of the profession for demanding and rewarding careers in public accounting. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Accounting|Education, Business|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Barbara Marie Porco, "Factors affecting the cognitive moral development of undergraduate accounting students: Ethics education, internships, volunteerism, and Beta Alpha Psi" (January 1, 2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3084893.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3084893

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