How South African societal and circumstantial influences affect the ethical standards of prospective South African Chartered Accountants

  • Dana Nathan University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: ethical rationale, prospective South African Chartered Accountants ((CA) SA’s), societal influences, ethics education, students


To effectively address ethical consciousness through formalised tertiary education, ethical rationale needs to be further understood. This paper attempted to investigate the effect of South African societal influences on prospective South African Chartered Accountants, through exploratory questionnaire research. Findings indicated that although participants perceived low levels of ethical behaviour in South Africa, they generally were not negatively influenced, most feeling the need to behave more ethically as a result. Influences from the country’s environment, including justification, lack of consequences and self-interest, were found to have negatively affected some participant’s ethical rationale and although not statistically significant, were considered qualitatively relevant findings. Many participants appeared to maintain the belief that it’s not possible to be completely ethical in business and that by remaining ethical in South African business they will be at a disadvantage.       Females’ ethical rationale was found to have been less affected by societal influences than their male counterparts. 

Author Biography

Dana Nathan, University of the Witwatersrand
School of Accountancy, Auditing Division - Senior Lecturer and Course Co-ordinator


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