This study investigates the effects of personal values on auditors’ ethical decision making. Previous accounting research has investigated the value profiles of practicing CPAs and accounting students, and the effects of values on accounting students’ ethical decisions. However, the current study is the first to empirically address the role of values in the ethical decision processes of professional auditors. We surveyed a random sample of AICPA members to assess their value preferences and reactions to an ethical dilemma involving client pressure for aggressive financial reporting. Contrary to our hypothesis, personal value preferences did not influence auditors’ perceptions of the moral intensity of the ethical dilemma. As hypothesized, perceptions of moral intensity influenced both ethical judgments and behavioral intentions.
- Moral responsibility