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The Effects of Moral Intensity on Ethical Sensitivity and Whistleblowing Intentions

Tara J Shawver, King's College

ABSTRACT: Ethical sensitivity and the ability to make sound ethical judgments are important issues facing accounting professionals and academics today. After many large accounting scandals many question why accountants have failed to make ethical decisions. Further some suggest that academics should increase exposure to ethics and professional responsibility in our classrooms. Although accountants are facing more and more ethical dilemmas, there is little research that explores the ethical judgments of accounting students using Jones (1991) model of moral intensity. This study explores several business situations to explore the effects of moral intensity to determine which factors may contribute to the identification of an ethical problem, reasons for making a moral judgment, and reasons for blowing the whistle when someone is aware of a questionable ethical dilemma.

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