A Cross-Cultural Comparison of the Deliberative Reasoning of Canadian and Chinese Accounting Students

Journal of Business Ethics 82 (1):189-211 (2008)
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Abstract

Using Hofstede's culture theory (1980, 2001 Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nation. Sage, NewYork), the current study incorporates the moral development (e.g. Thorne, 2000; Thorne and Magnan, 2000; Thorne et al., 2003) and multidimensional ethics scale (e.g. Cohen et al., 1993; Cohen et al., 1996b; Cohen et al., 2001; Flory et al., 1992) approaches to compare the ethical reasoning and decisions of Canadian and Mainland Chinese final year undergraduate accounting students. The results indicate that Canadian accounting students' formulation of an intention to act on a particular ethical dilemma (deliberative reasoning) as measured by the moral development approach (Thorne, 2000) was higher than Mainland Chinese accounting students. The current study proposes that the five factors identified by the multidimensional ethics scale (MES), as being relevant to ethical decision making can be placed into the three levels of ethical reasoning identified by Kohlberg's (1958, The Development of Modes of Moral Thinking and Choice in the Years Ten to Sixteen. University of Chicago, Doctoral dissertation) theory of cognitive moral development. Canadian accounting students used post-conventional MES factors (moral equity, contractualism, and utilitarianism) more frequently and made more ethical audit decisions than Chinese accounting students

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