Chief audit executives' perceptions of drivers of moral courage: Tunisian evidence

Imen Khelil, Khaled Hussainey, Hedi Noubbigh

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    A string of accounting-related scandals has revealed key shortcomings in internal auditor truthfulness. These scandals have led researchers, professional organizations and institutions to question causes of internal auditor silence and the failure of ethical guidelines. This study responds to these questions by revealing moral courage as the missing ingredient in internal auditor ethical instruction and as the tool needed for internal auditors to preserve their integrity and overcome their fears. Building on what is currently known of internal auditors and moral courage, this study sheds light on professional and ethical requirements placed on internal auditors to tell the truth, and it emphasizes the role of moral courage in guiding their ethical behaviors. It also considers what must be known about the development of moral courage among internal auditors and seeks to identify the factors that promote internal auditors’ moral courage through thirty structured interviews with chief audit executives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-337
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation
    Issue number4
    Early online date20 Sept 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018


    • Internal auditor
    • Management fraud
    • Fear
    • Silence
    • Moral courage
    • Ethical behavior
    • Telling the truth
    • Tunisia


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