Becoming comfortable with audit quality : A quantitative study of the relationship between ethical climates and auditors’ comfort
profession ethical climate
business ethical climate
social ethical climate
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AbstractThere is no generally accepted way of measuring audit quality and prior research has shown that measurements used have produced conflicting results. Since auditors are those who carry out and sign off audits, they are the ones that know best how to assess and improve audit quality. Auditors assess the quality of their work in terms of how comfortable they are and the comfort of auditors is affected by the ethical climate in the audit firm. Thus, ethical climates are deemed important determinants for auditors’ perceived audit quality. The purpose of this study is consequently to explain how ethical climates in audit firms affect audit quality, using the comfort of auditors as proxy. The study aims at offering a new and fresh perspective of audit quality from practitioners’ point of view and providing the research field of audit quality with a better type of measurement. Audit quality was conceptualized through extracting a theoretical model based on the theory of ethical climate and comfort theory. Four hypotheses were derived from the model and tested on Swedish authorized auditors using a self-administered questionnaire as data collection method. In this respect, the study adopts a quantitative research design with a deductive approach. The findings suggest that there is a positive significant relationship between the ethical climate in audit firms and the comfort of auditors. Overall, this study has proven the importance of having a strong ethical climate as a means to make the auditors feel comfortable and subsequently to enhance the perceived audit quality of auditors. One limitation of this study is that only Swedish authorized auditors have been studied. Hence, the findings may not be generalized and applicable on authorized auditors in other countries. In addition, the result may have turned out differently if the study would have included non-authorized auditors as well. The original value of the study is a new conceptualization of audit quality measured by the relationship between ethical climates and auditors’ comfort.
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