The moral intensity of reduced audit quality acts

P. Coram, A. Glavovic, J.K. Ng, David Woodliff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Underlying attributes of reduced audit quality (RAQ) acts are investigated in this research paper. Since RAQ acts may result from ethical judgments, we examine whether they could vary because of differences in moral intensity. Moral intensity was proposed by Jones (1991) in a model that looked at the attributes of the moral issue itself. This study examines whether auditors perceive seven different RAQ acts to differ on three components of Jones' model (social consensus, magnitude of consequences, and probability of effect). Little variation was found on the social consensus dimension showing that auditors think the acts equally wrong. However, significant differences in perceptions about the RAQ acts relating to the probability of effect and the magnitude of consequences were found. The results suggest that RAQ acts differ in terms of their moral intensity, and hence auditors' decisions to undertake RAQ behavior may be issue-contingent. The study provides empirical support for Jones' model by showing, in an audit context, that moral intensity factors vary with the moral issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-149
JournalAuditing : a journal of practice & theory
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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