Business Ethics Quarterly 14 (3):355-376 (2004)

This paper analyzes the rhetoric surrounding the profession’s presentations of auditor independence. We trace the evolution of thecharacter of the auditor from Professional Man in the early years of the twentieth century to the more public and abstract figures of Judicial Man and Economic Man. The changing character of the auditor in the profession’s narratives of legitimation reflects changes in the role of auditing, in the economic environment, and in the values of American society. Economic man is a self-interested and shallow character who offered the auditing profession little protection against involvement in corporate scandals. In the wake of recent accounting scandals, the profession is calling for a return to the character of Professional Man to restore trust in audits and the financial markets.We also analyze the philosophical bases of the metaphors surrounding auditor independence. These metaphors, particularly the metaphor of independence as separation, create problems in conceptualizing independence concepts. How can you discuss appropriate relationships when your basic concept is one of separation, or no relationship? On the other hand, relational concepts of independence are also flawed if they are not based on a firm moral foundation. We suggest how the profession can act to rebuildits moral foundation through recognition of collective responsibility
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq200414329
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References found in this work BETA

Metaphors We Live By.Max Black - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (2):208-210.
Professional Powers: A Study of the Institutionalization of Formal Knowledge.Eliot Freidson - 1986 - Business and Professional Ethics Journal 5 (3):179-183.

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