Social Cognitive Theory: The Antecedents and Effects of Ethical Climate Fit on Organizational Attitudes of Corporate Accounting Professionals—A Reflection of Client Narcissism and Fraud Attitude Risk

Journal of Business Ethics 131 (2):453-467 (2015)
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Abstract

The rash of high-profile accounting frauds involving internal corporate accountants calls into question the individual accountant’s perceptions of the ethical climate within their organization and the limits to which these professionals will tolerate unethical behavior and/or accept it as the norm. This study uses social cognitive theory to examine the antecedents of individual corporate accountant’s perceived personal fit with their organization’s ethical climate and empirically tests how these factors impact organizational attitudes. A survey was completed by 203 corporate accountants to assess their perception of relevant variables. The results of the structural equation model indicate three significant antecedents relating to ethical climate fit: higher internal levels of locus of control; greater numbers of prior job changes; and higher perceptions of an increasingly better fit with the firm’s ethical climate. Our results also indicate that higher levels of perceived fit to the ethical climate of a firm are associated with higher levels of perceived job satisfaction and organizational commitment. We also theorize that perceptions of an organization’s ethical climate may be reflections of client narcissism and serve a potential indicator of fraud risk. This is an important topic of study, since current auditing standards call for auditors to examine organizational attitudes toward fraud, but offer minimal guidance in doing so

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