Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Joshua Sauerwein, D.B.A., CPA

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Shelton, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Gama, Ph.D.


The purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to explore the vision that accounting professors had of teaching virtue ethics in their courses. The study sample consisted of eight professors who have taught accounting and related finance courses full time for at least 2 years at an institution that grants four-year (bachelor) degrees in Accounting. Participants included professors from two public and one private university. The methodology allowed for the discernment of meanings that emerged from participants’ lived experiences of virtue ethics and ethics in general. Analysis of resulting themes and constructionist perceptions created a narrative conclusion that was a joint creation between the participants and the researcher. Interviews with each participant around guiding questions were the source of the narrative text. Descriptive themes included overall instabilities around ethics, inconsistent understandings of professionalism, and some uneasiness discussing conscience and religion. Catalysts for change were also identified that related to former students facing “Enron moments” and some current successes with virtue ethics. The study concluded that the vision of virtue ethics in accounting was a consequence of the true purpose of accounting and the true purpose of higher education. Accounting’s best purpose extended beyond deontology and utility and the traditional purpose of higher education extended beyond technical information and employment opportunities. At the time of this study the researcher was not aware of any narrative style investigation of virtue ethics directed at accounting professors.

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