The influence of construal of self on internal auditors' judgments on whistle-blowing: evidence from China

Bella Zhuoru Zheng*, Chris Patel, Elaine Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Our paper contributes to the audit literature by examining whether internal auditors' personal values measured by construal of self systematically influence their acceptance and likelihood of engaging in whistle-blowing. China provides a particularly appropriate national context for our study because evidence shows that the traditional internal control systems have largely failed to achieve their objective of preventing wrongdoings. Internal auditors have been selected as subjects because of the importance placed on them by regulators and enterprises in designing and implementing whistle-blowing systems. Construal of self has been selected for examination because it captures complex moral, cognitive processes experienced by individuals at both cultural and personality levels. This study develops and finds support for the hypotheses that, compared with independents, interdependent internal auditors are less accepting and less likely to engage in whistle-blowing. The results also show the presence of “holier-than-thou” perception bias among internal auditors. The findings may benefit local and multinational enterprises, regulators, and researchers who are interested in designing and developing more compatible whistle-blowing policies and procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Auditing
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • construal of self
  • internal auditors' judgments
  • multidimensional ethics measure
  • “holier-than-thou” perception bias


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