Understanding Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

Understanding Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

Read the Case Study: Public Practice — Nobody Follows the Rule (Links to an external site.).


Every accounting firm has its approach to ethical situations with clients and employees. Dave Gordon, FCA, Senior Partner was to advise the incumbent auditor on the financial situation at a client. He has been noticing that many of the other partners in his firm are not following the rules with respect to transitioning to a new client.

Evaluate the case study to assess ethical reasoning using Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development from Dave Gordon’s point of view.

Include in your evaluation:

  1. Using      Rest’s Four Component Model describe which components were actually      present in this case and where the failures occurred.
  2. How      could Dave use Rest’s model to make ethical decisions?
  3. According      to Kohlberg’s theory, which stages are present in the decision-making      process?
  4. How      might a better understanding of Kohlberg’s theory help this situation?
  5. Can      Dave justify the loss of business as a right decision in view of firm      goals?


  • Write      a paper of full 5 pages in length, not counting the title and reference      pages, which you must include.
  • Use      terms, evidence, and concepts from class readings, including professional      business language.
  • Cite      at least 5-6 sources for this assignment, outside of the textbook.
  • Format      your paper according to APA format.

Reference: Lemon, W. M. (n.d.) Public practice – Nobody follows the rule. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: University of Waterloo. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-accounting-ethics/resources/ethics-teaching-cases/public-practice-nobody-follows-rule

Chapters 1 & 2 in Ethics in Accounting: A Decision-Making Approach

Bobek, D. D., Dalton, D. W., Daugherty, B. E., Hageman, A. M., & Radtke, R. R. (2017). An investigation of ethical environments of CPAs: Public accounting versus industry. Behavioral Research in Accounting, 29(1), 43-56.

Larkin, M. B., Bernardi, R. A., & Bosco, S. M. (2013). Does female representation on boards of directors associate with increased transparency and ethical behavior? Accounting & the Public Interest, 13(1), 132-150.

Dedeke, A. (2015). A cognitive-intuitionist model of moral judgment. Journal of Business Ethics, 126(3), 437-457.

Duska, R. F., & Weber, R. M. (2016). Where ethics intersects the fiduciary duty. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 70(5), 23-26.

Josephson, M. (2002). Making ethical decisions. Los Angeles, CA. Josephson Institute

Klein, G. (2016). Ethics in accounting: A decision-making approach. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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