Gender, Age, Educational Level, and Moral Development Research Proposal

Pages: 25 (7940 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

Gender, Age, Educational Level, & Moral Development

Throughout the years, the findings of several studies indicate that gender, age, education level, level in the firm, and taking ethics courses or training all have an impact upon moral development (Elm et al., 2001). However, other studies have shown no significant relationship between these factors (Smith, 2001) for instance, one study found that the adjusted R2 values, regressing the MES factors against the ethical evaluation and intention measures, ranged from.45 to.76. These results are indicative of the general validity of the Multidimensional measure. In addition, the factors capture a substantial amount of the variance in the ethical evaluation and behavioral intention measure.

Download full Download Microsoft Word File
paper NOW!
In their research Flory et al. (1993) distinguished MES as theoretically distinct from the conclusions made by Kohlberg. These distinctions are evident in the fact that the DIT utilizes scenarios that are not linked to ethical issues in accounting and instead deals with a trait that is lasting -- the stage of moral growth. On the contrary, the multidimensional approach, focuses on the ethical decision process, and expresses scenarios that are relevant and specific within the context of business. Such an approach is cognizant that the slight nuances of an ethical situation can alter both the ethical evaluation and behavior of an individual. It can also be concluded that the MES is better equipped as it pertains to explaining and forecasting whether or not ethical behavior will occur. With the theoretical differences between these models understood, Flory et al. (1993) measured the poor predictive validity (adjusted R2s) of DIT studies (ranging from non-significant to.22) against their results, which varied between.45 and.76. Table1 recapitulates the distinctions between multidimensional approach and the moral development framework.

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Gender, Age, Educational Level, & Moral Development Assignment

In their study, Cohen et al. (1998) evaluated gender and discipline-based distinctions in the ethical evaluations and objectives of accounting students and students in additional fields. A constant factor structure was evident for all vignettes. Reliability test results in alpha scores which varied from.63 to.80 for all factors evaluated. The factors described between 81 and 86% of the variance as it pertained to the individual responses of participants. In addition to the study performed by Cohen in 1996, the same study was replicated by Cruz et al. (2002). The replicated study used as participants a sample of U.S. tax professionals. A consistent factor structure emerged for all vignettes. Crobach's alphas ranged from.73 to.94. The adjusted R2 values, regressing the MES factors against the ethical evaluation and intention measures, ranged from.43 to.89.


The results from previous research indicate that gender may influence ethical reasoning. In past studies female participants have demonstrated higher levels of moral development than have male participants (St. Pierre,1990). However, other studies have found that gender has no major effect on ethical reasoning (Ma, 1987).

One study conducted by Shaub (1994) considered the affiliation of demographic variables with the ethical reasoning of auditors and accounting students. The data was collected from 207 auditors from four offices of a Big-Six CPA firm in the southwestern United States. Additionally 91 senior accounting students from a mid-western university also participated in the study. The DIT was used as a measurement of the level of moral growth for all participants in the study. The findings of the study revealed that females had a notably elevated level of moral reasoning than did the males who participated in both samples.

In addition to the aforementioned study other studies have also revealed difference between male and females as it pertains to moral reasoning. For instance, Bernardi (1997) surveyed 494 auditors from five of the Big Six accounting firms in the United States. For this survey DIT was utilize to measure the level of moral growth. The findings of the survey revealed that female accountants' average level of moral growth is higher than that of the males surveyed.

Although the aforementioned studies showed significant differences between men and women as it pertained to moral reasoning and moral growth, other studies have found no significant differences. For instance, Ma (1987), found no significant gender difference in any of the stage scores derivative of DIT. For this particular study 168 Chinese students were surveyed.

The participants ranged from grade 9 to graduate level in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. The results of the survey found that the mean P score for both males and females was 30.06 and 30.82, in that order. As a result of this finding the authors surmised that there were no significant gender disparities in the DIT P scores.

In addition to Ma (2007), Rogers (2002) also concluded there were no significant gender differences. Rogers (2002) considered the influences of gender and age on ethical reasoning. This particular study took place at a public university in the southern part of the United States. For the purposes of the study a DIT survey was utilized. According to the results of the survey there is no considerable gender difference among male accounting students and female accounting students as it pertained to ethical reasoning.

Additionally a study of the moral development and cognitive style (CS) of accountants conducted by Read (2003), had as participants 90 entry level auditors. These auditors were employed by five international accounting firms and were given the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the DIT.

Through this study researchers found that as it pertained to the DIT P Scores, there were no significant disparities between the male auditors and the female auditors.


In addition to gender it is believed that age also has an effect upon moral development.. A study conducted by Rest (1999), found that as it pertained to DIT mean P scores for different groups', age is positively correlated with P scores. In addition, researchers such as Jones (1995) found that age is positively correlated to the level of moral growth. Indeed, some research (Shaub, 1994), has indicated that age does not influence nor is it negatively associated, with the level of moral growth that is seen in an individual.

Although there is evidence to support the idea that age does not influence moral development, there is also a great deal of evidence to suggests that age is a significant influence on moral development. For example, Hau

1989) utilized a Chinese adaptation of DIT to study 242 secondary school and university students in Hong Kong. Their findings indicated that the older university students possessed greater moral maturity than did the younger secondary school students in their P score. The study surmised that educational level and age are positively correlated with moral reasoning.

Likewise, Jones (1995)conducted a study which examined members of the Institute of Management Accountants. For the purposes of the study surveys were mailed to 1,000 members and 250 were used to carryout the research. The study found that age is a considerable variable as it pertained to the full sample.

Additionally Elm (1995), observed 243 managers from four companies in the United States. For the puoses of the study, the DIT was utilized to measure the level of moral growth, the self-monitoring scale was utilized to evaluate social behavior, and the Ethical Climate Questionnaire was used to evaluate the awareness of the ethical environment. The study found that age was negatively correlated to moral reasoning.

In addition others have argued that as people age there moral reasoning decreases and opposed to increasing. In their study Eynon et al. (1997) established that moral reasoning capacity decreases as an individual ages. Surveys were mailed to licensed CPA's across the United States including 1,092 sole proprietors and small firm practitioners. A total of 121 people completed the survey. The DIT was again utilized to measure their level of moral reasoning,. Their findings exposed that the oldest group (ages 54-65) had the lowest mean P scores, while the youngest group (ages 31-42) had the highest mean P scores. The researchers concluded that various factors in the accounting workplace overshadow the usually positive impact of age on moral reasoning.

In other studies where the participants were audit partners, managers and small CPA firm practitioners, negative correlations amongst DIT P scores and age were revealed (Ponemon & Gabhart, 1990), (Hill, et al., 1998). Additionally, a negative correlation among P scores and the three variables of experience, age, and position level was revealed in Ponemon's (1992) study with CPAs in public practice. Nevertheless, later stepwise regression analysis found that age, was not the primary correlate with moral reasoning. Finally, Shaub's (1994) study with where the participants were auditing students and Big Six auditors revealed that DIT P scores were not linked to the age variable.

In addition to age education level is believed to play an important role in increasing the level of moral reasoning. In fact, previous research contends that moral development increases while an individual continues their education and then evens out at the highest level of education attained (Rest, 1979). Still other research findings indicate additional education is not correlated with significant changes in the level of moral reasoning.

Lastly, Hill (1998) revealed that DIT P scores were… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Download full paper (25 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Aristophanes Lysistrata Term Paper

Gender Differences in Middle School Math Scores Research Paper

Educational Philosophy and the Nature and Purpose Thesis

Gender Differences in Attitudes to Alcohol Use Term Paper

Child Psychology Child Development Term Paper

View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Gender, Age, Educational Level, and Moral Development" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Gender, Age, Educational Level, and Moral Development.  (2008, July 27).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Gender, Age, Educational Level, and Moral Development."  27 July 2008.  Web.  24 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Gender, Age, Educational Level, and Moral Development."  July 27, 2008.  Accessed October 24, 2021.