Last week, I published a paper in Accounting Education about the presence (and absence) of ethical considerations in management accounting textbooks..
Drawing on the work of Alisdair MacIntyre, I argue that management accounting (MA) instruments such as performance measurement are not morally neutral, but instead bear moral implications. Therefore, I contend that MA students should be trained to take these moral implications into consideration alongside MA’s technical aspects. A content analysis is carried out to examine the integration of ethical considerations in top-ranked MA textbooks.
The findings indicate that these textbooks, particularly the introductory textbooks, marginally integrate ethical considerations. Furthermore, the findings point to the risk of detaching ethical considerations from the discussion of MA’s technical aspects, which may weaken the potential of the ethical considerations and turn them into ‘afterthoughts’. Finally, I offer practical suggestions for the improvement of the integration of ethical considerations in MA education and conclude with directions for future research.