Examining personal values and ethical behaviour perceptions between accounting and non-accounting students in the Caribbean

Philmore Alleyne, Cheryl Cadogan-McClean, Ayodele Harper


This paper sought to determine the influence of personal values on students’ ethical behaviours. Specifically, we tested for differences by gender and academic major on personal values and ethical behaviours, as well as the influence of personal values on ethical behaviour by academic major (accounting vs. non-accounting students). The study used a sample of 231 undergraduate students and employed a survey instrument which was adapted from Akaah and Lund’s (1994) personal values and Newstrom and Ruch’s (1975) ethical behaviour scales. Findings revealed that females held higher personal values and felt that they were more ethical than males. Non-accounting students held higher personal values but lower ethical behaviours than non-accounting students. Regression analysis revealed that two personal values factors (honesty and self-control) influenced ethical behaviour. However, honesty and intellectualism influenced accounting students’ ethical behaviours, while only honesty influenced non-accounting students’ ethical behaviour. Implications are discussed.

Keywords: Personal values, ethical behaviour, gender, academic major

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