Ethics Matters: The Integration of Ethical Considerations in Management Accounting Textbooks

Accounting Education 28 (4):426-443 (2019)
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This paper examines the integration of ethical considerations in management accounting (MA) education. Drawing on the work of Alisdair MacIntyre, it is argued that MA instruments such as performance measurement are not morally neutral, but instead bear moral implications. Therefore, this paper contends that MA students should be trained to take these moral implications into consideration alongside MA's technical aspects. A content analysis is carried out to examine the integration of ethical considerations in top-ranked MA textbooks. The findings indicate that these textbooks, particularly the introductory textbooks, marginally integrate ethical considerations. Furthermore, the findings point to the risk of detaching ethical considerations from the discussion of MA's technical aspects, which may weaken the potential of the ethical considerations and turn them into ‘afterthoughts’. Finally, this paper offers practical suggestions for the improvement of the integration of ethical considerations in MA education and concludes with directions for future research.

Author's Profile

Berend van der Kolk
IE Business School


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