Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



fsc2015, Accounting Leadership, Ethical Leadership, Accounting, Leadership, Values Based Leadership


The emergence of the twenty-first century was plagued with extensive, evasive and disheartening leadership failures. Despite the accounting profession’s standards of professional ethics, it was also tainted with ethical leadership indiscretions during this era. In response to these ethical leadership failings, renewed interest in developing accounting professionals with strong ethical principles and ethical leadership behaviors has emerged. In many firms training and development of ethical behavior is now at the forefront of the firm’s communications and professional development efforts. The question remains however, can the profession instill in its members the importance of ethical conduct? Can ethical leaders be developed that model and monitor ethical behavior? In response to the call for leaders who are ethical and moral, this research examined a model that examines ethical leadership and its impact on leader effectiveness for leaders within the accounting industry. The analysis shows that ethical and transformational leadership make incremental independent contributions in explaining leader effectiveness. The study comments on how the findings that ethically and morally focused leaders may impact the accounting profession and restore an industry tarnished with accusations of unethical behavior to one that regains its original prominence based on consistent, moral, ethical, and effective leaders.




This chapter is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Awarded the Outstanding Author Contribution in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence for this paper.

Earlier version also reviewed, accepted and presented at the American Accounting Association National Conference (2013) and awarded Best Research Paper by a recent PhD graduate.

The final published version of this chapter is available through Emerald Group Publishing:

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