Measuring moral judgement and the implications of cooperative education and rule-based learning

Steven Dellaportas*, Barry J. Cooper, Philomena Leung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The Defining Issues Test (DIT), developed by Rest (1986), measures a person's level of moral development using hypothetical social dilemmas. Although theDIT is useful for measuring moral development in social settings, it might not adequately capture an individual's moral judgement abilities in solving work-related problems (Weber, 1990; Trevino, 1992; Welton et al., 1994). In the present study, the moral judgement levels of 97 accounting studentsweremeasured over a 1 year period using two separate test instruments, the DIT and a context-specific instrument developed byWelton et al. (1994). The test scores are significantly higher on the DIT than theWelton instrument (between the instruments and over time), suggesting that accounting students use higher levels of moral reasoning in resolving hypothetical social dilemmas and lower levels of moral reasoning in resolving context-specific dilemmas. The difference in test scores was highest during cooperative education (work placement programme), implying that the environment is a significant determinant on students' test scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages18
JournalAccounting and Finance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooperative education
  • Defining Issues Test
  • Dilemmas
  • Rule-based learning
  • Welton instrument


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring moral judgement and the implications of cooperative education and rule-based learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this