Title

Action Research in Business Conduct – Assessing Student Ethical Perceptions

Presenter Information

William BlackFollow

Academic Title

Assistant Professor

College

Mike Cottrell College of Business

Department

Department of Accounting & Law

Primary Campus

Gainesville

Title of Award Granted

2018 Presidential Summer Incentive Grant

Name of Institution that Granted the Award

University of North Georgia

Keywords

Ethics assessment, student perceptions, action research, ethical conduct, scholarship of teaching and learning

Abstract

The ARBC survey instrument asks subjects their perceptions regarding vignettes (short stories) describing business conduct. The survey covers 15 areas of possible concern, and 2 areas, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Acceptable Conduct, which include vignettes that were created to describe completely acceptable conduct. In September 2019, the ARBC ethics assessment instrument was distributed to 1,454 UNG students in the Department of Accounting & Law. 264 responses were received from lower division students (1000 and 2000 level courses, most in ACCT 2102 or BUSA 2810), and 115 responses were received from upper division students (3000 and 4000 level courses). It can be difficult to establish precisely what is a “right” answer, so to permit comparison of the subject responses to a measure of acceptable business conduct the research team obtained responses from over 50 experienced business professionals, averaging well over 20 years of experience each, The aggregate responses of that business panel are used as a benchmark of existing perceptions, and the subject responses are compared to the panel responses to identify statistically significant differences.

Preliminary analysis of the results indicates that lower division responses differed significantly from upper division responses, and the differences were generally in a direction that implies the upper division respondents had a better understanding of the ethical implications of the vignettes presented, but there is still room for improvement. Analysis is underway on the Business Law and Principles of Accounting aspects of the data from this assessment.

All individuals and organizations are affected by business conduct, so the use of the ARBC does not have to be limited to accounting or business classes. The ARBC is designed to protect student privacy and to provide useful results. Students typically complete the assessment in 10 to 15 minutes.

Biography

William Black, CPA, CMA, ABAR, CFE, CVA is a forensic accountant and accounting educator with a strong interest in business ethics. After several decades of independent practice, including expert witness testimony on intellectual property, breach of contract damages, and business valuation matters, he returned to school and earned his PhD in Accounting from the University of Mississippi. He now teaches financial and managerial accounting, financial statement analysis, accounting theory, and accounting information systems at the University of North Georgia, and still consults on interesting and challenging forensic accounting assignments. He is President of the Georgia Association of Accounting Educators, Membership Chair of the Georgia chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and Senior Editor of the Accounting Historians Journal.

Proposal Type

Poster

Presentation Option

yes

Subject Area

Business

Start Date

15-11-2019 12:00 PM

End Date

15-11-2019 1:00 PM

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Nov 15th, 12:00 PM Nov 15th, 1:00 PM

Action Research in Business Conduct – Assessing Student Ethical Perceptions

The ARBC survey instrument asks subjects their perceptions regarding vignettes (short stories) describing business conduct. The survey covers 15 areas of possible concern, and 2 areas, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Acceptable Conduct, which include vignettes that were created to describe completely acceptable conduct. In September 2019, the ARBC ethics assessment instrument was distributed to 1,454 UNG students in the Department of Accounting & Law. 264 responses were received from lower division students (1000 and 2000 level courses, most in ACCT 2102 or BUSA 2810), and 115 responses were received from upper division students (3000 and 4000 level courses). It can be difficult to establish precisely what is a “right” answer, so to permit comparison of the subject responses to a measure of acceptable business conduct the research team obtained responses from over 50 experienced business professionals, averaging well over 20 years of experience each, The aggregate responses of that business panel are used as a benchmark of existing perceptions, and the subject responses are compared to the panel responses to identify statistically significant differences.

Preliminary analysis of the results indicates that lower division responses differed significantly from upper division responses, and the differences were generally in a direction that implies the upper division respondents had a better understanding of the ethical implications of the vignettes presented, but there is still room for improvement. Analysis is underway on the Business Law and Principles of Accounting aspects of the data from this assessment.

All individuals and organizations are affected by business conduct, so the use of the ARBC does not have to be limited to accounting or business classes. The ARBC is designed to protect student privacy and to provide useful results. Students typically complete the assessment in 10 to 15 minutes.