Authors: Imen Khelil; Khaled Hussainey; Hédi Noubbigh
Addresses: IHEC, University of Carthage, Tunisia ' Faculty of Business and Law, Portsmouth Business School, University of Portsmouth, Room 6.22 Richmond Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3DE, UK ' IHEC, University of Carthage, Tunisia
Abstract: A string of accounting-related scandals has revealed key shortcomings in internal auditor truthfulness. These scandals have led researchers, professional organisations and institutions to question causes of internal auditor silence and the failure of ethical guidelines. This study responds to these questions by revealing moral courage as the missing ingredient in internal auditor ethical instruction and as the tool needed for internal auditors to preserve their integrity and overcome their fears. Building on what is currently known of internal auditors and moral courage, this study sheds light on professional and ethical requirements placed on internal auditors to tell the truth, and it emphasises the role of moral courage in guiding their ethical behaviours. It also considers what must be known about the development of moral courage among internal auditors and seeks to identify the factors that promote internal auditors' moral courage through 30 structured interviews with chief audit executives.
Keywords: internal auditor; management fraud; fear; silence; moral courage; ethical behaviour; telling the truth; Tunisia; chief audit executives; drivers of moral courage.
International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, 2018 Vol.14 No.4, pp.315 - 337
Available online: 20 Sep 2018 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article