Legitimacy Claims of the Auditing Profession Vis-A-Vis the Behaviour of its members: An Empirical Examination

William Pasewark, Randolph A. Shockley, Jack E. Wilkerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Accounting and auditing practice in the US and other advanced capitalist societies is an institutional mechanism for mediating and arbitrating social choices. This role places the auditing profession in the position of functioning as a legitimating institution within a society's framework of legitimate authority. However, in order to retain this role, the profession must comply with the "code of legitimate conduct" established by society for auditors. Current events and circumstances are symptomatic of a legitimation crisis facing the auditing professions-the profession has violated, or is perceived to have violated, this code. Empirical evidence is provided in this paper that such a situation currently exists, specifically with respect to the profession's "objectivity" claim. This study's results suggest that in-charge auditors, when confronted with "powerful" client employees, will, with some likelihood, compromise the profession's objectivity claim. If the auditing profession is to
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-94
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
StatePublished - Feb 1 1995

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