An Examination of the Differences Between Personal Values and Value Types of Female and Male Accounting and Nonaccounting Majors

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Issues in Accounting Education

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Research has shown that a person's values affect his or her behavior. While there has been considerable research regarding the ethical perceptions and behavior of business students, there has been limited research regarding the personal values that affect such perceptions and behavior. This study was designed to determine the differences between values and value types of accounting and nonaccounting majors, as well as differences between values and value types of males and females. The values survey questionnaire developed and validated by Schwartz (1992) was used for this study. The instrument, containing 56 values, was administered to business students in three upper-division courses at a private, Jesuit, Catholic university in the Midwest. Value types were derived by grouping responses to the 56 values. Results of the study show there are significant differences between accounting and nonaccounting majors for 13 values (Inner Harmony, Choosing Own Goals, Independent, Enjoying Life, An Exciting Life, A Varied Life, Curious, Self-Discipline, Creativity, Influential, National Security, Social Recognition, Daring), and for five of ten value types (Achievement, Hedonism, Power, Self- Direction, Stimulating). Significant differences exist between responses of females and males for nine values (Ambitious, Sense of Belonging, Broadminded, Politeness, Self-Discipline, Authority, Reciprocation of Favors, A World at Peace, Social Power) and two value types (Conformity, Power). The interaction between gender and major was also examined. By major there were more differences between females than between males, and by gender there were more differences between accounting majors than nonaccounting majors. An understanding of students' values and their value types is beneficial to administrators, educators and businesses. Specifically, the findings of this study can be used to enhance recruiting, retention, scheduling, teaching and training of students and business professionals.


Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 13, No. 3 (August 1998): 565-584. Publisher Link.