The effects of length of service and ethical ideologies on moral development and behavioral intentions: a study among Brazilian public sector tax auditors

Ricardo Malagueño, Sudarshan Pillalamarri, Amaury José Rezende, Marcelo Botelho da Costa Moraes

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Abstract

Purpose- This research examines the effects of length of service and ethical ideologies on cognitive moral development and ethical behavioral intentions among public sector tax auditors in Brazil.
Design/methodology/approach- Our research data was collected via survey questionnaires from a sample of 625 auditors who work for the Brazilian tax authority. Participants voluntarily complete an on-line instrument which included three scenarios with context-specific moral dilemmas, questions about the specific scenarios, and an ethics position questionnaire. Multinomial logistic and ordinary least square regressions were used to analyze the data.
Findings- Our findings reveal that a) public sector tax auditors with shorter length of service are more likely to be at higher stages of moral development, b) relativistic ideology among public sector auditors is positively associated with more lenient ethical behavioral intention, c) idealistic ideology among public sector auditors is positively associated with stricter ethical behavioral intention, d) public sector auditors classified as absolutists are stricter in their ethical behavioral intentions, e) public sector auditors classified as absolutists with length of service between 5 to 15 years are more likely to be at higher stages of moral development when compared to public sector tax auditors with longer length of service.
Originality/value- To the best of our knowledge, our study is one of the first studies that attempts to understand the effects of length of service and ethical ideology on cognitive moral development and ethical behavioral intention among public sector auditors. Additionally, it examines these issues in the context Latin America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-613
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Accounting Research
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • auditors
  • public sector
  • ethics
  • cognitive moral development
  • ethical ideologies
  • Brazil

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