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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