Journal of College Teaching & Learning
In 1990, Bruns and Merchant surveyed the readership of the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Their survey asked HBR readers to rate the acceptability of earnings management practices. Prior to that study, researchers and accounting practitioners paid little attention to the morality of short-term earnings management. However, in the wake of highly publicized financial frauds and failures, the profession and academic journals have emphasized the importance of the concepts of earnings quality and earnings management. The Bruns and Merchant survey provided 13 earnings management situations and asked the HBR readers to rate the acceptability of those practices. In this study, we surveyed students and business managers to measure their perceptions about the morality of specific earnings management actions to determine if their perceptions are different from those of the HBR readers 15 years ago. This article also compares the results of our study with several other studies that used the Bruns & Merchant instrument during the most recent 15 years. Based on our findings, we discuss implications for academia.