The role of ethnicity in whistleblowing: The case of Kenyan auditors

Andreas Hellmann, Medhat Endrawes, Jane Mbuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examine whether ethnicity influences the ethical evaluation of an auditor's willingness (or unwillingness) to engage in whistleblowing. Utilising the concepts of ethnic identity and construal of self, we asked Kenyan auditors to assess an ethical dilemma in which auditors and wrongdoers belong to the same or a different ethnic group. We found that ethnic identity has no significant effect on an auditor's ethical evaluation of remaining silent if both the wrongdoer and potential whistleblower are from the same ethnic group. However, there is a significant effect on the ethical evaluation of whistleblowing if the wrongdoer is from a different ethnic group. We found that auditors with an interdependent construal of self are more likely to perceive as ethical the decision to remain silent if the wrongdoer is a member of their own ethnic group, but this finding did not hold when the wrongdoer is from a different ethnic group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-750
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Auditing
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date14 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Kenya
  • auditing
  • construal of self
  • culture
  • ethical dilemma
  • ethnic identity
  • ethnicity
  • fraud
  • judgements
  • whistleblowing

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