Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 79, Issue 1–2, pp 29–42 | Cite as

Moral Choice and the Concept of Motivational Typologies: An Extended Stakeholder Perspective in a Western Context

  • Gordon F. Woodbine


Accountants and auditors are often faced with ethical dilemmas, which they have to process using resources available to them. Although they may be sensitive to the ethicality of the issues and have the cognitive ability to work through a judgment process, the final action they take may be dependent on a number of motivational factors, endogenous to the issue. Agency issues are a continuing area of concern providing accountants with an ability to shirk their responsibilities and hide confidential information, which may affect their career prospects if disclosed. This ongoing study explores these notions within a stakeholder context and uses a post test only field experiment to gain evidence to support the existence of an agency problem and that membership to one of a number of motivational typologies directly affects the way accountants respond to ethical issues. This association causes them to adopt informational heuristics that may result in less than optimal decisions. This study identified two specific endogenous constructs, namely social consensus and venal intent that discriminate between motivational types and which possibly provide psychological underpinnings explaining membership orientation.


agency problem stakeholder theory motivational typologies accountants and auditors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of AccountingCurtin University of Technology PerthPerthAustralia

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