In light of recent accounting scandals and the ensuing “crisis in confidence” facing the public accounting profession, there is a new challenge to accounting educators: how to effectively incorporate ethics into accounting courses, and increase the moral reasoning abilities of their students. Providing accounting students with the ability to reason effectively with respect to moral dilemmas may help to minimize future judgment errors in accounting and auditing settings.
This article describes several different educational interventions that were adopted in an undergraduate auditing course. Students' moral reasoning was assessed both at the beginning and the end of the course to determine whether their moral reasoning scores improved based on the interventions. This was done over two semesters: one occurring in 2001 (“pre‐Enron”), and one occurring in 2002 (“post‐Enron”). Accounting context‐specific scores were collected in both semesters (using Thorne's  Accounting Ethical Dilemma Instrument [AEDI]), and general moral reasoning scores (Rest's  Defining Issues Test [DIT]) were also collected in the post‐Enron semester. Results indicate increases in AEDI scores, which were robust over both semesters. There was no corresponding increase in DIT scores, which is consistent with previous research; however, students' DIT scores were not significantly different than AEDI scores, which is contrary to the findings of Thorne (2001). In addition, the educational interventions appear to be equally effective in both the pre‐Enron and post‐Enron semesters, indicating the absence of an “Enron effect.”