Ethics, independence and the conservation of ambiguity

Mike Page, L. Spira

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Regarded as a professional grouping, accountants and auditors have an interest in espousing high levels of independence and ethical behaviour, whereas, as individuals, there may be incentives to act with lower levels of integrity. The ensuing compromise is achieved by trading off independence, ethical principles and trust against each other. Such a trade-off can only be achieved in a dynamic equilibrium in which ambiguity of meaning is a vital lubricant to the justification of behaviour in individual circumstances. Accordingly, where old ambiguities are eliminated, there is a strong tendency for new ones to be created in order to provide players with the freedom needed to manoeuvre in situations as they unfold.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-316
    Number of pages16
    JournalBusiness Ethics: A European Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


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