An Empirical Examination of the Determinants of Auditors' Ethical Sensitivity

Dissertation, Texas Tech University (1989)

Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of auditors' individual ethical orientations, professional commitment, and organizational commitment on their ability to recognize the ethical issues in a professional situation and on their level of cognitive moral development. Other objectives of the research were: to develop a measure of auditors' ethical sensitivity; to measure auditors' ethical orientation, ethical sensitivity, and the level of cognitive moral development reflected in their ethical judgments; to examine the relationships of various demographic variables to ethical sensitivity and level of cognitive moral development; and to evaluate the effects of ethical orientation on auditors' professional and organizational commitment. ;Based on ethical theory developed by Hunt and Vitell , a research model was constructed that hypothesized professional commitment and ethical orientation as exogenous predictor variables of organizational commitment and ethical sensitivity. Ethical sensitivity was in turn hypothesized to affect level of cognitive moral development. The covariance structural equations modeling technique LISREL was used to provide a best fit model estimating the relationships among the variables and the quality of the measurements. ;The variables were measured using a questionnaire that was administered to a sample of 207 auditors at all levels of a single Big Eight public accounting firm in a southwestern state. The results of the study supported the significant effects of an auditor's ethical orientation on professional commitment, which in turn affected organizational commitment. The results represented in the best fit model did not, however, support the hypothesis that these three variables affect an auditor's ability to recognize ethical situations in a professional context. Ethical sensitivity was positively related to age, but not to education . The level of cognitive moral development reflected in ethical judgments was higher for females and for auditors who had taken a college ethics course
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Antecedents of Managers Moral Reasoning.Almerinda Forte - 2004 - Journal of Business Ethics 51 (4):313-347.
Auditors' Ability to Discern the Presence of Ethical Problems.Julia N. Karcher - 1996 - Journal of Business Ethics 15 (10):1033 - 1050.

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