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Politicization of the audit process: The case of politically affiliated auditors in Swedish Local Governments

Journal article
Authors Anna Avenborg Thomasson
Published in Financial Accountability and Management
Volume 34
Issue 4
Pages 380-391
ISSN 0267-4424
Publication year 2018
Published at
Pages 380-391
Language en
Subject categories Other Social Sciences

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate and analyse how the internal audit process as well as the outcome of that process is used for politically reasons. This will be accomplished by applying the political theory of politicisation to the analysis of the internal audit process within Swedish local authorities. By applying the theory of politicisation, this study contributes to our understanding of how the internal audit process is open for the use of (de‐)politicisation as strategies to influence stakeholders’ perception of the audit process as well as the identity and legitimacy of the auditee. Especially interesting is perhaps how politicisation in combination with de‐politicisation can be used to either put emphasis on issues of political relevance or avoid addressing issues that are politically sensitive. Previous research on auditing in public sector organisations has predominately focussed on audit independence and the role of auditors. By applying a new perspective to the role of auditing in public sector organisations and by focussing on the process and the outcome instead of function, this study increases our understanding of auditing in politically governed organisations.

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