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Ethical work climate and its influence on work-related ethical behaviour among the Malaysian public sector auditors

Loke, Chew Har and Ismail, Suhaiza and Abdul Hamid, Fatima (2022) Ethical work climate and its influence on work-related ethical behaviour among the Malaysian public sector auditors. International Journal of Ethics and Systems, 38 (4). pp. 720-741. ISSN 2514-9369 E-ISSN 2514-9377

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Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper are twofold. Firstly, it explores the extent to which ethical work climate (EWC) is prevalent among public sector auditors at the National Audit Department (NAD) of Malaysia. Secondly, it examines the relationship between EWC and the work-related ethical behaviour of public sector auditors in the NAD of Malaysia. Design/methodology/approach – This study used a postal questionnaire survey, which was distributed to the public sector auditors in Malaysia. A total of 823 responses from public sector auditors in 213 audit teams was received, constituting a 66% and 78% response rate, respectively. To achieve the first research objective, the responses were analysed using descriptive statistical analysis, including mean values and mean value ranking. For the second objective, hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) statistical software was used for the cross-level data analysis. Findings – The results reveal a moderate level of the overall EWC at the NAD. The overall EWC at the team level also has a positive significant influence on work-related ethical behaviour assessed at the individual level of auditors. In terms of the individual components of the EWC, multivariate regression analysis of HLM shows collective moral (CM) sensitivity and CM judgement have a significantly positive relationship with work-related ethical behaviour, whereas CM motivation has a negatively significant relationship with work�related ethical behaviour. Practical implications – The empirical evidence on the level of EWC and its components implies that there is room for improvement in the ethical climate in the NAD. The finding is important for the NAD to design necessary measures to enhance the EWC, including tightening the auditors’ code of ethics and organizing ethics-related seminars, training and workshops for the auditors. The result on the positive influence of CM sensitivity and CM judgment of work-related ethical behaviour of public sector auditors is also crucial for the NAD to further inculcate moral sensitivity and moral judgment among the public sector auditors. Originality/value – This study is among the initial research that uses Arnaud’s EWC model in assessing the influence of EWC on ethical behaviour, particularly in the context of public sector organization of a developing country, i.e. Malaysia.

Item Type: Article (Journal)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Malaysia, Ethical behaviour, Ethical work climate (EWC), Public sector auditors, Cross-level
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences > Department of Accounting
Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences
Depositing User: Prof. Dr. Suhaiza Ismail
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2022 08:35
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 08:36
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/100864

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