A multidimensional analysis of tax practitioners' ethical judgments

Journal of Business Ethics 24 (3):223 - 244 (2000)
Abstract
This study investigates professional tax practitioners' ethical judgments and behavioral intentions in cases involving client pressure to adopt aggressive reporting positions, an issue that has been identified as the most difficult ethical/moral problem facing public accounting practitioners. The multidimensional ethics scale (MES) was used to measure the extent to which a hypothetical behavior was consistent with five ethical philosophies (moral equity, contractualism, utilitarianism, relativism, and egoism). Responses from a sample of 67 tax professionals supported the existence of all dimensions of the MES other than egoism. Regressions of ethical judgments and behavioral intentions on the MES dimensions indicate that ethical decision making is most heavily influenced by the moral equity dimension, followed by the contractualism dimension. In contrast, the utilitarianism and relativism dimensions were only related to ethical judgments and behavioral intentions in isolated instances.
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