Several critics have reopened the continuing debate regarding the credibility of the auditing profession in part because of auditors' reluctance to issue warning signals to investors. At the root of auditors' lack of independence issues are conflicts of interest resulting from the structural features of auditor-client relationship. The Throughput Model (TP) is advanced to illustrate how ethical issues may be influenced by conflicts of interest. In the first stage, the TP provides an isolation of auditors' ethical positions from six ethical different perspectives. In the second stage, previous TP theory is built upon by arguing a simultaneous analysis of how conflicts of interests may induce auditors' behavior. We conclude that in the current low litigation risk environment, auditors' ethical behavior (both conscious and unconscious) is clearly 'unbalanced' favoring the reluctance to issue warning signals. Finally, we offer a discussion of potential solutions to improve ethical issues.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Professor Waymond Rodgers is a professor at the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Riverside. He received his B.A. in accounting from Michigan State University, M.B.A. in finance from the University of Detroit, and Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Southern California. He also holds a psychol-ogy post-doctorate from the University of Michigan. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California and Michigan, with extensive accounting and banking expertise as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young, and a commercial loan officer at the Union Bank. His primary research areas are auditing, banking, decision analysis, ethics, financial accounting, and cognitive modeling. Professor Rodgers has published in various prestigious accounting, management, and psychology journals in Australia, Europe, and the United States. He is the recipient of major research grants from the American Society of Engineering Education, Brazilian Research Foundation, Canada Research Founda-tion, Citibank, Curtin University in Australia, Ford Foundation, National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and the Navy Per-sonnel Research and Development Center.
This study has been carried out with the financial support of the Spanish National R+D+I Plan through the research projects SEJ2007-62215/ECON, SEJ2004-00791ECON, SEJ 2006-14021 and a Fulbright postdoctoral grant EX2004-0294. A previous draft of this manuscript was selected as best paper at the 4th Workshop on Corporate Governance at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) in Brussels (November 15–16, 2007). We thank participants of the 30th European Accounting Annual Congress held in Lisbon 2007.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics