Asian Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 155–171 | Cite as

Moral reasoning of Chinese accounting students and practitioners

  • George LanEmail author
  • He Zhang
  • Jianan Cao
  • Meng Bai


This exploratory study employs the Defining Issues Test (DIT2) to investigate the moral reasoning levels of a sample of 228 accounting students at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, and 192 accounting practitioners from different regions of China. The results show that on average, the P scores (a measure of the post-conventional level of moral development) of Chinese accounting students and practitioners are 45.02 and 33.57, respectively. When compared with the levels of moral reasoning of their peers in Western countries, as provided in Tables 1 and 2 of Bailey et al. (Behavioral Research in Accounting, 22(2):1–26, 2010), Chinese accounting students exhibit post-conventional levels of moral development similar to the highest levels reported, whereas Chinese accounting practitioners report post-conventional levels of moral development similar to the lowest levels of post-conventional moral development reported by the practitioners in Western countries. Furthermore, female Chinese accounting students score significantly higher on the post-conventional level of the development stage than do the male Chinese students, but there is no significant gender effect in P scores between the male and female accounting practitioners.


Cognitive moral development Chinese accounting students Chinese accounting practitioners Defining Issues Test Post-conventional level 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Odette School of BusinessUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.School of ManagementXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina

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