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Marital Status, Religiosity, Ethical Decision-Making, Accounting Professional, Kruskal-Wallis Test
Many corporations and their accountants have taken ethics for granted. This oversight has led to the closing of companies such as Enron and WorldCom. Accountants are placed in positions of having to render ethical decisions daily, and when they lose sight of ethical values, the dissolution of corporations can occur.
The goal in this quantitative research is to investigate the relationship between the independent variables of marital status, religiosity, and years of work experience and the dependent variable of ethical decision-making. Eighty-three members of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) completed an internet-delivered survey on ethical dilemmas. Because they were contacted through the MACPA weekly E-newsletter, the respondents were those members who chose to accept the weekly electronic newsletter and who read it. The 83 participant responses were saved within Survey Monkey and extracted by the authors.
A nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test examined differences in mean rank order of ethical decision-making scores among the marital status groupings and revealed no significant differences in mean ranks (?2 (4, N=83) = 3.810, p = .432) or among the years of work experience (?2 (5, N = 83) = 7.768, p = .170). Based on results of the tests, the hypothesis that there is no relationship between ethical decision-making and marital status and between ethical decision-making and years of work experience cannot be rejected. A Spearman correlation analysis revealed no significant association (rho = -0.084, p = 0.226, n = 83) between ethical decision-making and religiosity. Based on the results of these and related tests, the hypothesis that there is no relationship between ethical decision-making and religiosity could not be rejected. The results from this study have added to the limited literature on ethical decision-making and three variables of marital status, religiosity, and years of work experience. The authors recommendation for future research is to conduct studies within different professional organizations and with additional variables including gender, sexual orientation, age, and self-assessments. Also, given the small response size of this study, a larger, more representative sample size would give the study more credibility.