Virtus InterPress


Julia Wu, Ahsan Habib, Sidney Weil

DOI: 10.22495/cbv8i1art2


The purpose of this paper is to add a meaningful critique to the existing audit committee (AC) literature by providing (i) a critical analysis of the AC literature grounded on agency theory; (ii) a discussion of the emerging new theories of AC, which investigate the people serving on and working with ACs, and (iii) a description of the relationship between these two groups of literature. A number of qualitative AC studies have provided new insights by investigating the actual people serving on and working with audit committees. This review paper summarizes these findings and provides a comparative evaluation with the agency theory-based AC research. This review documents, among others, that the attributes of ACs, as measured by the quantitative literature, have hardly been reflected by qualitative investigation, whereas qualitative analysis of the data contributed by people who have actual experience of ACs questions the fundamental propositions, not only of why ACs exist, but also how they function. This paper provides a cross-examination of the afore-mentioned two paradigms of literature on AC effectiveness and invites corporate scholars to reflect on the differences between the two groups of AC studies.

Keywords: Audit Committee Effectiveness, Agency Theory, Corporate Governance, Social Phenomenon

How to cite this paper: Wu, J., Habib, A., & Weil, S. (2012). Audit committee effectiveness: A synthesis of the audit committee literature. Corporate Board: role, duties and composition, 8(1), 15-31.

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