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Title: The political economy of external auditing in Malaysia, 1957-1997
Author: Ali, Azham
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis investigates the role and contribution of external auditing as practised in Malaysian society in the post-independence period of the last 40 years. It applies the political economic approach introduced by Tinker (1980) and refined by Cooper & Sherer (1984), which emphasises the social relations aspects of professional activity rather than economic forces alone. The former is considered capable of providing greater insight and a fuller understanding of the issues involved in the question "Why audit in Malaysia?" The political economic approach is applied in this study by utilising an enlarged exogenous framework of processual change analysis developed by Smith (1973) and adapted to accounting by McKinnon (1986). This particular interpretive framework views external auditing in Malaysia over the forty year period (1957- 1997) as an open, dynamic social system comprising two pattern transformations. Each pattern transformation is analysed through decomposition into source, diffusion and reaction phases, and in terms of the four aspects of the enlarged exogenous framework: intrusive events, environment, trans-systems activity and intra-system activity. Data for change analysis are obtained from primary and secondary source documentation and from personal interviews conducted with various parties who can be considered as having significant interests in the country's audit practice. The study focuses specifically on the historical development of, and environmental influences on the country's audit practice. The conclusions of the study provide understanding of the operational form of contemporary audit practice and the historical, social, economic and political determinants of that form. The conclusions also attempt to extrapolate what the future of audit practice may look like. Racial concern and the operation of strong and pragmatic government in contrast to the influence of an industrialisation drive appear to have constraint progress in the manner that audit has been developing in Malaysia. Although at one level it appears that changes have actually taken place in both the audit and its neighbouring systems of government, companies and capital funds, deeper analysis shows that much of this change is superficial. Auditing development has been implicated in broader ideological and political struggles in the society. In short, external audit in Malaysia cannot be interpreted as simply a technical phenomenon, but rather as a social activity imbedded in its social, economic and political context. The function of auditing in Malaysia society is devoid of any essence of mission; instead it is created, shaped and changed by the pressures which give rise to its development over time. It is implicated in action, rather than being prior to it. The role that it serves is intertwined with the contexts in which it operates. The more frequent perception of auditing is in legal and political terms rather than in terms of intrinsic merit or adding value to statements prepared by management.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available