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Confucian culture and whistle‐blowing by professional accountants: an exploratory study

Dennis Hwang (College of Business, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, USA)
Blair Staley (College of Business, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, USA)
Ying Te Chen (Department of Accounting, Providence University, Taichung, Taiwan)
Jyh‐Shan Lan (Department of Accounting, Providence University, Taichung, Taiwan)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 23 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use survey data to examine the impact of culture on current and future accounting and auditing professionals' intent to be whistle‐blowers in a Chinese cultural society.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines intent to whistle‐blow and factors influencing whistle‐blowing, using survey data collected by the authors.

Findings

It was found that a majority of respondents believe that a general sense of morality was the most important factor to encourage whistle‐blowing, with abiding by the policy of their organization as the second; it was also found that guanxi, fear of retaliation, and fear of media coverage may discourage whistle‐blowing in a Chinese society.

Research limitations/implications

The data are all from Confucian societies, which perhaps limits its usefulness elsewhere.

Practical implications

The paper will help auditors, accountants, and policy makers to design policies that encourage whistle‐blowing.

Originality/value

The paper uses original survey data collected by the authors, and the analysis will enable policy makers and professional accountants to anticipate and predict whistle‐blowing, a key factor in improving financial management and reporting, and possibly undermining auditor independence, audit quality, and the quality of financial reporting.

Keywords

Citation

Hwang, D., Staley, B., Te Chen, Y. and Lan, J. (2008), "Confucian culture and whistle‐blowing by professional accountants: an exploratory study", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 504-526. https://doi.org/10.1108/02686900810875316

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited