Sociodemographic variables and ethical decision-making: a survey of professional accountants in Nigeria


  • University of Lagos
  • University of Lagos



Upbringing, Education, Religion, Experience, EDM, Accountants



The purpose of this study is to examine the role of selected sociodemographic variables in the ethical decision-making (EDM) process of professional accountants in Nigeria.


The study obtained data from 329 professional accountants with the aid of a structured questionnaire containing four dilemmatic ethical vignettes. The data were analysed using Kendall correlation, Kruskal–Wallis and Jonckheere–Terpstra tests.


The results revealed that upbringing, especially parental discipline, and education are significant sociodemographic determinants of EDM. Religion and experience played little or no significant role in predicting accountants’ EDM in the face of ethical dilemmas.

Research limitations/implications

The study used a questionnaire to measure its variables, which may bias and somewhat inflate the findings. Hence, caution should be applied regarding its conclusion.

Practical implications

The evidence in this study could stimulate policy change and review to include a separate ethics course in the accounting education curriculum, which could enhance the ethics training of future accountants. This is important for countries like Nigeria, where no provision is made for a discrete ethics course in the curriculum for accounting under-graduate education.

Social implications

The study draws attention to the fact that ethical conduct among professionals and in society could be enhanced through proper upbringing and formal education.


The study adds some uniqueness in focusing on professional accountants in Nigeria, a developing country with high corruption profile and weak government institutions, and, as such, contributes to the limited research output on accounting ethics in developing countries.


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