Institutionalizing Corporate Governance Reforms in Poland: External Auditors’ Perspective

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Purpose: The paper examines auditors’ experiences with corporate governance (CG) in general and audit committees (ACs) in particular in the setting of a Polish two-tier board system and a capital market characterized by high ownership concentration, which therefore extends the research on CG practices of an economy beyond the well-researched Anglo-American model.

Methodology: This study adopts a qualitative research approach by using interview data from fifteen interviews with auditors working with large publicly-listed companies in Poland to examine the relationships among auditors, Audit Committees, and CG.

Findings: The auditors indicate that the CG environment has changed. However, the institutionalization of an AC in Poland generally is the subject of coercive isomorphic pressures, which lead to its decoupling and transition toward a ritualistic role. Moreover, auditors report only some reliance on CG information in the planning phase and none in the field-testing or review phases.

Originality: The findings differ from those of prior studies conducted predominantly in the USA and the UK, in which auditors reported far greater reliance on CG in all phases of the audit process. The two possible reasons for this difference in findings could be the different development stages between capital markets and different CG systems.

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