American Accounting Association

An International Meeting of
the American Accounting Association

2005 Annual Meeting

August 7–10, 2005
San Francisco, California

Come to the City by the Bay!

Can the ‘Clan Effect’ Reduce the Gender Sensitivity to Fraud? The Case of the IPO Environment

Tara J. Shawver
King's College

Patricia C. Bancroft
Bridgewater State College

John T. Sennetti
Nova Southeastern University

Abstract: Generally, women accountants are socialized to be more ethically sensitive to fraud. Yet, research shows that the gender advantage may be mitigated by different socializations, environmental or organizational constraints. We study one such socialization, a “clan affect” where accountants are known to be conditioned and then socialized to the pressures of earnings management, in situations where a company will offer its initial public stock offering (IPO). We investigate this possibility with eight ethically challenging dilemmas (including those of earnings management) that are shown to thirty-nine actively engaged IPO accountants who are not averse to unethical choices. We find that female IPO accountants, like the males, are not averse to choosing questionable actions. Hence the gender effect is somewhat mitigated, but is still present in some of the eight dilemmas. We find female IPO accountants more sensitive toward and less likely than men to choose earnings management, even in the presence of other cognitive (DIT) and ethical orientation (MES) measures in this limited study of only twenty-two women and seventeen men of similar ages and experiences. Yet, the correlation of gender and ethical orientation for certain questionable actions is consistent with the theory that gender can be mitigated.

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