In terms of historical timeline, many factors have been studied that are believed to impact moral development, which is presumed to influence ethical decision making in one way or another (Curtis, Conover, & Chui, 2012; Mujtaba, Cavico, McCartney, & DiPaolo, 2009; Steele, Branson, & Martin, 2011). Previous studies on moral development have examined and recognized education as an influencing factor of moral development. However, many studies on whether moral development is affected by obtaining additional education are limited or inadequate due to the use of only college students as population for study (Bouhmama, 1988; Cummings, Maddux, & Cladianos, 2010; Kiser, Morrison, & Craven, 2009; Steele et al., 2011). In the last few decades, more than a quarter of studies investigating business ethics have relied on a population made up of college students only (Albaum & Peterson, 2006). Studies using a variety of measuring instruments to examine the relation between higher education and moral development have shown a relative increase of moral reasoning (Cummings et al., 2010, Maeda, Thoma, & Bebeau, 2009, & Mujtaba et al., 2009; Rest & Thoma, 1985). Still, in terms of using college student groups, studying the impact of additional education on moral reasoning has yielded quite conflicting results.
Business ethics is a topic that has been given much attention from those in the business sector and researchers in the last few decades due to the increase of unethical behavior in the work environment (Yusoff, Salleh, Zakaria, Nair, Vadeveloo, & Luqman, 2011). Chan, Fung, and Yau (2010) suggested that the global financial crisis of 2008 was the catalyst for the increase of research oriented on studying business ethics intensively. Finding variables that impact an individual's ethical decision making may provide businesses with knowledge on how to reduce unwanted behavior and inspire appropriate conduct in the workplace.