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Transitory or Persistent? The Effects of Classroom Ethics Interventions: A Longitudinal Study

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This paper examines whether an ethics intervention administered during a graduate course in accounting is effective and, if effective, whether the observed moral reasoning gains are transitory or persistent. An established test instrument, Accounting Defining Issues Test (ADIT), was used to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. The students completed the ADIT at the beginning of the term prior to the intervention and again at the end of the term. They repeated this task three years after the intervention and completion of the course. The results of this study indicate that gains in moral reasoning ability are persistent, and are not diminished when students accept professional responsibilities. These findings suggest that an appropriately designed ethics intervention, whilst fostering persistent gains in moral reasoning ability, also may be used as a professional ethics socialization tool.

Keywords: Accounting ethics; Kohlberg; accounting ethics education; ethical judgment; mental development; mental reasoning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Clemson University, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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