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Application of Moral Norms in Accounting as Communication: How Self-ef ficacy may Impact on Morality

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Accounting ethics is a growing field which is devoted to how ethical norms are perceived, understood, and how they affect behavior of professional accountants and auditors. The field concerns what legal sociology could define as the effectiveness of a set of norms. The present study adopts a Luhmann-inspired theoretical framework and questions three assumptions that are common among the main thrust of empirical research on accounting ethics. This study proposes that the effectiveness of ethical norms in accounting as the outcome of self-assessments, client-assessments and peer-assessments in which the ethical norms operate as a communication system. The perceived utility of the system of ethical norms appears to the individual as dependent on how capable the individual believes him/herself to be at communicating with the environment through ethical terminology. This system-theoretical definition of the effectiveness of ethical norms in accounting allows new research questions to be asked regarding how ethical norms become a viable alternative for solving accounting problems in practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by authorisation of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), is an international, peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1907. It features original articles on philosophical research on legal and social questions, covering all aspects of social and legal life.
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