Psychopathy and Accounting Students’ Attitudes towards Unethical Practices - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

psychopathy and accounting students attitudes towards unethical practices n.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Psychopathy and Accounting Students’ Attitudes towards Unethical Practices PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Psychopathy and Accounting Students’ Attitudes towards Unethical Practices

play fullscreen
1 / 25
Psychopathy and Accounting Students’ Attitudes towards Unethical Practices
145 Views
Download Presentation
amaris
Download Presentation

Psychopathy and Accounting Students’ Attitudes towards Unethical Practices

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. Psychopathy and Accounting Students’ Attitudes towards Unethical Practices Charles D. Bailey The University of Memphis American Accounting Association Annual Meeting Atlanta August 2014

  2. Why study psychopathy? • Business scholars have been slow to embrace the “Dark Triad” of personality variables: • Psychopathy • Lack of conscience and empathy for others • Possess superficial charm • Machiavellianism • Manipulation of others for own purposes; opportunistic and acting consistent with the economic theory of self-interest. Not without conscience, not a clinical mental disorder. • Murphy, “Attitude, Machiavellianism and the rationalization of misreporting” AOS 2012 • Narcissism • Grandiosity, entitlement, dominance, superiority • Johnson et al., “Auditor perceptions of client narcissism as a fraud attitude risk factor” Auditing Feb 2013

  3. Potential of psychopathy for understanding and preventing a variety of business problems Fraud Antisocial behaviors Unethical behaviors A rare but still potent factor: • About 1% of population clinical psychopaths • About 4% of CEOs (Babiak et al. 2010) • Subclinical psychopathy is measurable

  4. Characteristics of psychopathy • Psychopaths are individuals who lack a conscience and lack empathy for others, who therefore will use any means to satisfy their desires (Cleckley 1941, Hare 1993). • Many are successful in business careers (Babiak and Hare 2006; Babiak et al. 2010). • At least two factors: • “Primary” psychopathy is highly conducive to ill-gotten “success.” Reflects selfish, uncaring, and manipulative posture toward others. • “Secondary” psychopathy predisposes one towards violence and incarceration. Reflects impulsivity and a self-defeating lifestyle.

  5. How would psychopathy affect propensity to commit fraud? Image from http://internalaudit.wayne.edu

  6. Research Questions • RQ1: How do accounting majors’ scores on Levenson’s Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP) compare with samples from past studies of students, accounting faculty, the general public, and prisoners? • RQ2: Do Accounting majors’ scores differ across junior, senior, and graduate students? • RQ3: How highly do the LSRP scores correlate with acceptance of questionable or blatantly unethical practices? • RQ4: At the highest measured levels of nonclinical psychopathy in this sample, what specifically are respondents saying about their values and attitudes? I.e., in concrete terms, what acts do they deem acceptable, and what attitudes permit such acceptance?

  7. Design of the study • Participants and Procedures • I asked faculty colleagues at several universities throughout the US to invite their accounting majors (junior, senior, or graduate) to respond to a web-based questionnaire. Responses were completely anonymous and voluntary. One in every twenty entrants received a $100 cash prize in a lottery.

  8. Questions asked….about [un]ethical actions:

  9. … about [un]ethical actions

  10. Questions about [un]ethical actions, continued…

  11. Levenson’s self-report psychopathy scale

  12. Levenson’s scale cont’d

  13. Sources of responses Note: There were 256 responses, so 34 participants did not enter the prize lottery.

  14. Descriptive statistics: Scale variables

  15. Descriptive statistics: Categorical variables

  16. How do accounting majors’ scores compare with samples from past studies? (RQ1) Bailey (2014; data collected through Spring 2014) similar national sample of 292 accounting majors 26.9 Glenn et al. (2010) 2157 adult volunteers 26.6 Walters et al. (2008) 1972 male and female federal prison inmates 28.70 Levenson et al. (1995) 487 univ.students 29.13 McHoskey et al. (1998) l25univ students 33.9 Bailey (2014) accounting academicians 22.58 Brinkley et al. (2001) 549 minimum-security state prisoners 32.99 The current paper: national sample of 253 accounting majors 28.05

  17. How do accounting majors’ scores compare: Statistical tests Notes: Samples are listed in ascending order of means. The t tests compare the current study against each of the other samples; p-values are two-tailed.

  18. Do accounting majors’ scores differ across junior, senior, and graduate students? (RQ2) Table 5: Analysis of Covariance, PSYCHOPATHY by Class, with Gender and Age [Also NS in simple ANOVA.]

  19. How highly do psychopathy scores correlate with acceptance of unethical practices? (RQ3) DV = Judged Severity of the Acts.* *The hypothesis says “acceptance,” but the scores here increase with condemnation (are lower if more accepting). I need to clarify in next draft!

  20. PSYCHOPATHY vs. DISAPPROVAL This relationship of mean data points appears linear, and a simple regression analysis is of all 253 observations is significant (p < .001), with PSYCHOPATHY explaining about 17.8% of the variance in DISAPPROVAL.

  21. At the highest measured psychopathy levels, what are respondents saying? (RQ4)Male junior, age 19, PSYCHOPATHY score 63. Views based on responses to questionnaire items. • I agree strongly that … • Success is based on survival of the fittest; I am not concerned about the losers. • For me, what’s right is whatever I can get away with. • In today’s world, I feel justified in doing anything I can get away with to succeed. • My main purpose in life is getting as many goodies as I can. • Making a lot of money is my most important goal. • I let others worry about higher values; my main concern is with the bottom line. • People who are stupid enough to get ripped off usually deserve it. • Looking out for myself is my top priority. • I tell other people what they want to hear so that they will do what I want them to do. • I often admire a really clever scam. • I enjoy manipulating other people’s feelings. • I disagree strongly that… • I would be upset if my success came at someone else’s expense. • I make a point of trying not to hurt others in pursuit of my goals. • I feel bad if my words or actions cause someone else to feel emotional pain. • Cheating is not justified because it is unfair to others. • I disagree somewhat that… • Even if I were trying very hard to sell something, I wouldn’t lie about it. • Acts I consider completelyacceptable include… • Keeping $500 erroneously included in my paycheck. • Acts I consider moderatelyacceptable include… • Claiming duplicate travel reimbursement. • Selling the company’s client list to a competitor.

  22. Male senior, age 22, PSYCHOPATHY score 46: • I agree strongly that… • My main purpose in life is getting as many goodies as I can. • Making a lot of money is my most important goal. • Looking out for myself is my top priority. • I agree somewhat that … • Success is based on survival of the fittest; I am not concerned about the losers. • For me, what’s right is whatever I can get away with. • In today’s world, I feel justified in doing anything I can get away with to succeed. • I let others worry about higher values; my main concern is with the bottom line. • I tell other people what they want to hear so that they will do what I want them to do. • I disagree somewhat that … • I would be upset if my success came at someone else’s expense. • I make a point of trying not to hurt others in pursuit of my goals. • I feel bad if my words or actions cause someone else to feel emotional pain. • Acts I consider moderatelyacceptable include… • Burying scrap expense to avoid scrutiny. • Having a supplier delay billing for a large amount of completed work. • Acts I consider [only] moderatelyunacceptable include… • Keeping $500 erroneously included in my paycheck. • I am unsure about the acceptability of postponing the write-down of worthless inventory.

  23. Female junior, age 19, PSYCHOPATHY score 42 • I agree somewhat that … • Success is based on survival of the fittest; I am not concerned about the losers. • Making a lot of money is my most important goal. • I let others worry about higher values; my main concern is with the bottom line. • People who are stupid enough to get ripped off usually deserve it. • Looking out for myself is my top priority. • I tell other people what they want to hear so that they will do what I want them to do. • I disagree somewhat that… • I would be upset if my success came at someone else’s expense. • Acts I consider [only] moderatelyunacceptable include… • Burying scrap expense to avoid scrutiny. • Having a supplier delay billing for a large amount of completed work. • Postponing the write-down of worthless inventory. • Keeping $500 erroneously included in my paycheck • I am unclear about the acceptability of keeping $500 erroneously included in my paycheck.

  24. Conclusions • The mean PSYCHOPATHY of accounting students is lower than past samples of students. • As expected, psychopathy, with its known antisocial nature, is related to acceptance of unethical practices. • The scores are consistent across class levels, indicating no selection or winnowing-out during school, so that the characteristics may persist into the professional arena. • Examples of the attitudes that higher-scoring students express in the survey are offered to aid in understanding the relationship and some of its concrete implications.

  25. Thanks! • Comments will be appreciated!