The Client as a Source of Institutional Conformity for Commitments to Core Values in the Auditing Profession*

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Publication Details
Author list: Öhman, Peter
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 0823-9150


Based on an analysis of questionnaire data from a large sample of certified auditors, we examine how the main type of client being served influences auditor conformity to the core values of their profession. We contrast auditors of (primarily) listed companies with auditors of (primarily) single member companies, that is, limited liability companies with a single owner who typically is also the only employee of the company. We show that these two groups of auditors differ in the extent to which they hold certain values important (i.e., show compliance) and in the closeness with which these values are held within each group of auditors (i.e., show convergence). Our results also demonstrate that the type of client predominantly served by an auditor is relevant for explaining variation in professional values both within and between organizational contexts. In addition, we offer a new theoretical approach to classifying auditors and analyzing their commitment to core values of the profession. We analyze commitment to values via both compliance and convergence, two often overlooked aspects of conformity to value commitments in professions.

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