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Kohlberg’s Theory:
I am going to assume since Kevin has only been with Stooges, LLP for 3 months, he is fresh
out of college with his accounting degree with a desire to earn his CPA and build his career. b
Therefore, since Kevin is a young adult, I do not think Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral
Development is the best model to use to analyze Kevin’s case of “eating time” and the
important decisions he must undertake. b Kohlberg’s approach states that a person’s moral
development develops in stages as one matures: b Level 1-Preconventional (self-
centeredness); Level 2-Conventional (societal awareness and personal responsibility) and
Level 3-Postconventional (strong principles and cooperation). b My opinion is Kevin is
currently at the Level 1-Preconventional stage of life which is focused on the individual
being very selforiented and ego-centric. b Since he is only at the beginning of his career,
Kevin will most likely want to do anything he can to earn the admiration of his employer (Bo
and Moe) and value acceptance by his colleagues at the firm. b So, more than likely he will
opt to take the confidential client files home with him in order to complete his audit work
(and thus eat time”). b Since eating time is unethical this decision would be unwise choice
for Kevin. b If Kevin was in his 40s or 50s and faced a different set of dilemmas that someone
in this age group may encounter, I would say Kohlberg’s Theory would be better suited to
analyze his case. b The development of morality within Kohlberg’s work takes time and is
complex and sophisticated. b Kevin simply has not reached these stages of moral development
since he is still in his early twenties.
Rest’s Model: b b
Similar to Kohlberg’s Theory, James Rest’s Four-Component Model of Ethical Decision
Making is based on a lengthy process of moral and ethical development. b Rest built his
model on moral psychological processes that an individual develops over time and include: 1
- moral sensitivity; 2 - moral judgment; 3 - moral focus; and 4 moral character. b The theory
is built on a complicated series of decision making in which all four components interact
with each other. b Adequacy in one area does not mean sufficient moral development in
another area. b Therefore, moral failure can occur if a person is deficient in one component of
the process. b Again, since Kevin is deemed “morally immature” with respect to Rest’s theory
due to his age and lack of life experience, analyzing his “Eating Time” case with James
Rest’s model is not a good choice.
Ethical Decision-Making Model: b b
I view this model as the best one for analyzing the Eating Time Case. b It is a straightforward
and systematic approach to making ethical decisions and this is what Kevin could use in this
case. b It appears that his model could be used by accountants in general, as it is a linear-based
model used to hopefully make good, ethical choices. b The processes of: identifying the
ethical and professional issues (Should I take work home at night? b Do I report a colleague
for ghost-ticking?), identifying and evaluating alternative courses of action (Could there be a
legal issue with taking home confidential client information? b What do the AICPA
professional standards or code of conduct dictate I do?), reflecting on the morality and
virtues surrounding the situation at hand (what could be the consequences to the accounting
firm if the client’s confidential documents taken home were stolen and competitors used
information against them?) and taking action (congruent with Kevin’s professional
obligations) can be constructed in a way to provide the most ethically advantageous outcome
for all parties involved. b b
References:
Mintz, Steven M. & Morris, Roselyn. (2020). Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in
Accounting (5th Edition). b McGraw-Hill Education US. b https://prod.reader-
ui.prod.mheducation.com/epub/sn_7567e/data-uuid-165aaab94b94470e809d751a40bbf1e3
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