The Implementation and the Impact of Audit Committees within the Framework of Corporate Governance in Saudi Arabia

  • Abdulrahman Bin Salman

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Abstract

    The key objective of this work is to investigate different stakeholders’ perceptions of the practices of audit committees in the field of corporate governance in Saudi Arabia. This research focuses on the role of audit committees, which are important governance mechanisms implemented by companies. In addition, consideration is given to how audit committees work in practice, and whether any barriers exist in relation to these committees fulfilling their duties.

    Additionally, this work investigates perceptions of the audit committees, current practices and the effects that social, cultural and economic factors have on the current situation surrounding audit committees in Saudi listed companies. By doing this, the researcher aims to examine how improvements in audit committee standards can address the underlying issues. This thesis draws on institutional theory to answer the following research questions: (i) How have recent changes in the Saudi corporate governance code impacted audit committees in Saudi Arabia?, (ii) To what extent have these changes enhanced corporate governance in Saudi Arabia?, (iii) To what extent are Saudi audit committees capable of supporting Saudi Vision 2030?, (iv) What are the areas for development in audit committee rules and practices in Saudi Arabia?.

    In order to address the aims and questions of this research, a multi-method qualitative approach was employed. This involved the use of a questionnaire that was completed and returned by 170 participants. Semi-structured interviews were also held with 32 participants to enrich the findings of the questionnaire. The participants in the study consisted of various members of board and audit committee members from listed companies in Saudi Arabia, as well as academic researchers, members of regulatory bodies and both internal and external auditors of listed companies.

    The findings suggest that the audit committees in Saudi listed companies have been positively influenced by coercive pressures. Moreover, the findings also imply that social, cultural and economic factors have an impact on audit committee procedures and that directors' boards are dominated by prominent shareholders. However, this can pose significant challenges for audit committees. Several policy recommendations for improving audit committee applications in Saudi listed companies are made in this research to help the Saudi economy grow in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
    Date of Award2023
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBruce Burton (Supervisor) & Vicky Lambert (Supervisor)

    Keywords

    • Audit Committee
    • Corporate Governance

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