Audit committees’ oversight role in developing countries: evidence from Jordan

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Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to explore the opinions of audit committee (AC) members on the extent to which they fulfil the oversight role vested in them by the Jordanian Corporate Governance Code (JCGC). Design/methodology/approach: This study uses semi-structured interviews with 18 AC members. Findings: The findings suggest that although ACs largely meet the JCGC’s recommendations, their substantive oversight role in practice is limited. In particular, the responses indicate that ACs suffer from a lack of real power, especially concerning the appointment (or removal) of external auditors and the evaluation of internal control. Moreover, ACs have no actual role in issues deemed important for financial reporting quality (e.g. reviewing management estimates and evaluating chief financial officer (CFOs) and internal audit executives). Originality/value: This study provides rich insights into ACs’ oversight processes in a setting outside the Anglo-Saxon corporate governance model where knowledge is scant on the ACs’ real function. Hence, the study injects the literature with new qualitative-based evidence from a peculiar civil law country. Also, Jordan has spent time and energy trying to strengthen corporate governance practices to boost investors’ confidence. However, the interviewees’ responses indicate that the oversight role of the AC is still far from what the regulators anticipate. Therefore, the findings offer useful feedback for regulators to think more deeply about the current governance regulations. The feedback from this study can be extended to other developing countries with similar institutional environments, especially countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalCorporate Governance
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date11 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

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Keywords

  • Audit committee
  • Corporate governance code
  • Interviews
  • Jordan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)

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