How outcome information affects ethical attitudes and intentions to behave

Gary M. Fleischman, Sean R. Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The purpose of this experiment is to examine how outcome information affects individual ethical attitudes and intentions to behave. In the present study, a scenario manager employs revenue manipulation by prematurely forcing a product through distribution channels. This investigation employs a 1 × 3 between-subjects and randomized experimental design where the scenario manager’s unethical behavior is associated with three behavior-based organizational outcomes: Favorable, moderately unfavorable, and unfavorable. We model individual ethical reasoning using the expanded Theory of Reasoned Action. Our findings suggest that the theory provides an appropriate and parsimonious fit for modeling individual ethical reasoning in the channel stuffing context. Specifically, we also find that as organizational outcomes of the scenario manager’s coercive behavior shift from unfavorable to favorable, participants judge unethical behavior less harshly, a concerning finding for regulators and policymakers. These findings have significant implications for new revenue recognition standards, such as IFRS 15 and ASC 606. Data Availability: Data available upon request. Please contact the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Research in Accounting
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Channel stuffing
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Expanded theory of reasoned action

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