Title: Are accounting students socially and politically aware? A critical analysis of the responses of accounting students to social and political dilemmas in society

Authors: Kieran James; Marie H. Kavanagh

Addresses: School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, West Street, Toowoomba Qld. 4350, Australia ' School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, West Street, Toowoomba Qld. 4350, Australia

Abstract: There has been some debate recently about the extent to which business schools are developing ethics as a quality during business and accounting programs. It has been argued that using a 'moral dilemma' approach in case studies at university can develop the knowledge and skills required for responsible and moral responses to ethical dilemmas in the workplace. This paper examines the ethical and moral predispositions of third-year accounting students by comparing their responses to those of the general public as measured by a survey in a popular newspaper. We operationalise ethics by focusing on one component of ethics namely social and political awareness. Results suggest that accounting students are no less socially and politically aware than the general population on 'general' societal issues where there is a clear oppressing agency and a clear marginalised individual or group. However, in certain other cases involving capitalist professional sports, accounting students were found to oppose regulation to a greater extent than the general population. Students from different cultural backgrounds were found to have very different views for some of the questions with South Asian students generally deeming sledging in professional sport unacceptable.

Keywords: accounting education; alienation; business education; ethics education; Freud; Marx; socialisation; superego; Tolstoy; business schools; higher education; accounting students; social awareness; political awareness; moral predispositions; ethical predispositions; cultural differences; professional sport.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2013.053353

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2013 Vol.5 No.1, pp.34 - 62

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 17 Apr 2013 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article