Public sector audit in the absence of political competition

Monir MIR, Haiwei FAN, Ian MACLEAN

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Purpose – The paper aims to explore whether different models of public sector audit exist in China without adhering to the goals and objectives of public sector audit systems in democratic jurisdictions.

    Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a single embedded case study involving multiple methods of data collection including public documents, semi-structured interviews and site visits. The research methods and the analytical framework of the study draw on the concepts of political competition, public sector accountability and audit independence.

    Findings – The study finds that the Chinese National Audit Office’s (CNAO) objectives derive from the neoclassical economic discourse and not from ideas of public accountability, as is the case in democratic parliamentary jurisdictions. The study finds that public sector audit in China functions in ways which are similar to that of internal audit. The CNAO may provide limited political and public accountability for Chinese public officials indirectly by enhancing their managerial accountabilities.

    Research limitations/implications – The study goes against the prevailing view that supreme audit institutions which are part of the executive will lead to poor accountability of the public sector and increased public sector corruption.

    Practical implications – The study suggests that enhancing managerial accountability in nondemocratic (and pseudo-democratic) jurisdictions through public sector audit can by itself be of significant benefit. Further, such enhancements may also strengthen public sector accountability.

    Originality/value – This paper fills a research gap by exploring public sector audit independence in a developing country with a unitary system of government.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-25
    Number of pages25
    JournalManagerial Auditing Journal
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Fingerprint

    Audit
    Political competition
    Public sector
    Accountability
    Jurisdiction
    China
    Internal audit
    Enhancement
    Multiple case study
    Research methods
    Discourse
    Developing countries
    Neoclassical economics
    Design methodology
    Corruption
    Structured interview
    Government
    Data collection

    Cite this

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    title = "Public sector audit in the absence of political competition",
    abstract = "Purpose – The paper aims to explore whether different models of public sector audit exist in China without adhering to the goals and objectives of public sector audit systems in democratic jurisdictions.Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a single embedded case study involving multiple methods of data collection including public documents, semi-structured interviews and site visits. The research methods and the analytical framework of the study draw on the concepts of political competition, public sector accountability and audit independence.Findings – The study finds that the Chinese National Audit Office’s (CNAO) objectives derive from the neoclassical economic discourse and not from ideas of public accountability, as is the case in democratic parliamentary jurisdictions. The study finds that public sector audit in China functions in ways which are similar to that of internal audit. The CNAO may provide limited political and public accountability for Chinese public officials indirectly by enhancing their managerial accountabilities.Research limitations/implications – The study goes against the prevailing view that supreme audit institutions which are part of the executive will lead to poor accountability of the public sector and increased public sector corruption.Practical implications – The study suggests that enhancing managerial accountability in nondemocratic (and pseudo-democratic) jurisdictions through public sector audit can by itself be of significant benefit. Further, such enhancements may also strengthen public sector accountability.Originality/value – This paper fills a research gap by exploring public sector audit independence in a developing country with a unitary system of government.",
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    Public sector audit in the absence of political competition. / MIR, Monir; FAN, Haiwei; MACLEAN, Ian.

    In: Managerial Auditing Journal, 2017, p. 1-25.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AB - Purpose – The paper aims to explore whether different models of public sector audit exist in China without adhering to the goals and objectives of public sector audit systems in democratic jurisdictions.Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a single embedded case study involving multiple methods of data collection including public documents, semi-structured interviews and site visits. The research methods and the analytical framework of the study draw on the concepts of political competition, public sector accountability and audit independence.Findings – The study finds that the Chinese National Audit Office’s (CNAO) objectives derive from the neoclassical economic discourse and not from ideas of public accountability, as is the case in democratic parliamentary jurisdictions. The study finds that public sector audit in China functions in ways which are similar to that of internal audit. The CNAO may provide limited political and public accountability for Chinese public officials indirectly by enhancing their managerial accountabilities.Research limitations/implications – The study goes against the prevailing view that supreme audit institutions which are part of the executive will lead to poor accountability of the public sector and increased public sector corruption.Practical implications – The study suggests that enhancing managerial accountability in nondemocratic (and pseudo-democratic) jurisdictions through public sector audit can by itself be of significant benefit. Further, such enhancements may also strengthen public sector accountability.Originality/value – This paper fills a research gap by exploring public sector audit independence in a developing country with a unitary system of government.

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