Business Ethics and Accounting Stdent

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Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting
ISSN 1946-052X
2009, Vol. 1, No. 2: E7
www.macrothink.org/ajfa
146
Business Ethics and Accounting Students: Australia, South Asia and East Asia Soheila Mirskehary
Deakin Business School, Faculty of Business & Law, Deakin University, Australia
Tel: 613- 9244 5537 E-mail: soheilam@deakin.edu.au
Ali Yaftian (Corresponding author)
School of Accounting, Victoria University
PO Box 14428, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia
Tel: 613 9919 5305 E-mail ali.yaftian@vu.edu.au
Guneratne Wickremasinghe
School of Accounting, Victoria University
PO Box 14428, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia
Tel: 613 9919 1477. E-mail Guneratne.wickremasinghe@vu.edu.au Abstract
Recent corporate collapses around the world show that there are no national boundaries for these occurrences. Australian corporate collapses including HIH Insurance, One.Tel, Ansett Australia and Harris Scarfe have raised public expectations of investigation of the causes of collapses (Mirshekary et al., 2005). The main reason for the collapse of HIH was mismanagement with an emphasis more on the directors’ personal qualities such as integrity, honesty and morality rather than tougher legislation and rules. Accounting students are our future business leaders. The teaching of ethics in the classroom to multicultural groups of students provides an opportunity to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and to increase interaction and debate around different approaches to ethics among students from different countries. This study uses previous literature to explain the attitudes of accounting students towards academic and business/accounting ethics at an Australian university which is a multi-campus institution undertaking programs and activities at regional, national, international levels and by distance education. Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting

ISSN 1946-052X
2009, Vol. 1, No. 2: E7
www.macrothink.org/ajfa
147
The study reports the results of cross-cultural investigations of students’ ethical perceptions on moral values, academic and accounting/business vignettes, given that all students share the same learning opportunities, knowledge of ethics and interaction with their peers and lecturers. The results indicate no significant differences in responses between the students from Australia, South Asia and East Asia. Keywords: Business ethics, Accounting students, Distance education, MANOVA JEL Classifications: M41, M49, M40

Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting
ISSN 1946-052X
2009, Vol. 1, No. 2: E7
www.macrothink.org/ajfa
148
1. Introduction
Recent collapses such as Enron, HIH and other international businesses have resulted in a tightening of legislation, as well as reforms to corporate governance. Justice Owen (2003) believed that the effect of corporate governance reform should be based more on personal integrity, honesty and truthfulness rather than tougher legislation and corporate governance rules. Educational institutions have a vital role to play in shaping the new reforms and creating a more ethical business environment. Multiple innovations and global communications throughout the world will have an effect on business ethics. Multinational corporations are more likely to be at risk due to ethical issues that result from cultural diversity of local staff in host countries. Salter et al. (2001) discussed this issue and recommended two solutions to overcome the cultural constraints that global audit firms are facing as they are dependent on the judgment, norms and standards of their staff in each country. One is to accept the local standards of the staff. While such a solution may have been acceptable in the past it is unlikely to be acceptable now. A high and consistent standard of auditing is incompatible with audit and ethical standards that fluctuate nationally. The second solution is to train auditors to achieve common standards of ethical behaviour. While training is an alternative solution, it has a...
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