Does group cohesion moderate auditors’ whistleblowing intentions?

Philmore Alleyne, Roszaini Haniffa, Mohammad Hudaib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
163 Downloads (Pure)


Prior whistleblowing research documents various relationships between certain individual characteristics and the intention to report workplace irregularities (whistleblow). However, auditors are trained to work in teams and to make decisions in consultation with the group. We study the extent to which an individual auditor's ethical judgment may be affected by the strength of group cohesiveness in the audit team. Our research extends prior studies on whistleblowing in the auditing context by examining the moderating effect of group cohesion on the relationship between several individual characteristics and whistleblowing intentions. Results based on survey data of 54 audit teams comprising 226 external auditors indicate significant relationships between nearly all individual characteristics (attitudes, perceived behavioral control, independence commitment and personal responsibility for reporting, and personal cost of reporting) and whistleblowing intentions. However, we find no significant relationship between desired moral approbation and whistleblowing intentions. Further, we find the presence of strong group cohesion reduces the tendency of whistle-blowing intentions of individuals with strong individual characteristics. Though further research is warranted, our study suggests the need for audit firms to assess both group cohesiveness and individual characteristics when assembling audit teams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-90
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation
Early online date22 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Audit teams
  • Auditing
  • External auditors
  • Group cohesion
  • Whistleblowing intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance


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