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Research Proposal - Coursework Example

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The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) is the legislative solution to the ethical scandals, such as Enron, Tyco, Qwest, Global Crossing, and WorldCom, involving accounting irregularities and fraud (Stephan, 2007). This Act implements extensive changes to public accounting and corporate laws, and also expands corporate governance extending the responsibilities of senior executives and board members. SOX has changed the current business environment. In the past business ethics was viewed as important (Bies & Forte, 2010). Now, business ethics is mandatory, but where is the map for business managers to follow? SOX mandates ongoing comprehensive ethics programs, but does not give clear exact criteria, leaving the responsibility of education and training employees in ethics up to the organization (Stephan, 2007). In order to provide all stakeholders in corporate America assurance around ethical behavior, further research is needed. The foundation of this dissertation is Kohlberg's Cognitive Moral Development theory, which will be used to determine whether age, gender, and education influence an individual's ethical decision-making capability. This study will compare the moral value of finance and accounting professionals who had ethical training with finance and accounting professionals who have not had ethical training, based on gender, age and education level. Brief Literature Review Finance and accounting professionals must resolve financial problems with the highest of ethical standards. Both finance professionals and accountants have developed codes or standards for guidance in performing their fiscal duties. The National Commission on Fraudulent Reporting concluded that written codes are important for communicating expectations and that more corporations should adopt a code of conduct (Rich, Smith, & Mihalek, 1990). However, Rich et al. conducted a study of selected respondents from the National Association of Accountants' database. Rich et al. found that for the performance measure net income, there was pressure on the respondents to achieve a targeted net income, and the pressure was greater in companies with a formal code. For a second performance measure, return on investment (ROI), there was pressure to achieve a specific ROI in those companies with a formal code. Since there was no evidence that a written code of conduct helps an individual resolve ethical dilemmas, the authors suggested companies focus on creating an ethical environment. The inability of a code of conduct to solve ethical behavior problems is evident in the investment profession, specifically regarding insider trading violations. In a study using members of the Financial Executives Institutes, it was found "ethics in the securities markets" is of the greatest concern (Veit & Murphy, 1996). Verschoor (2004) reported that Enron and the scandals which followed were a failure of ethical behavior and not of inadequate laws and regulations. He emphasizes moral behavior can not be legislated. Corporate leaders should have a record of building a culture for doing the right thing (Verschoor, 2004). Senior leadership set the ethical standards that management will follow. When there is no clear guideline, individual judgment based on personal moral and personal ethical codes are used (Smith & Bain, 1990). The research of Sims and Keon (1999, 2000) support the conclusion that perceived organizational ...Show more
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Running Head: IMPACT OF ETHICAL EDUCATION/OR TRAINING Impact of Ethical Education/or Training on Moral Values [Name] [University] Word Count = 1596 Impact of Ethical Education/or Training on Moral Values Introduction Integrity among finance and accounting professionals is essential to the success of any industry…
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