Skip to main content

Ethics Audit

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online:
Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics


Compliance audit; Corporate social responsibility audit; Ethics assessment; Ethics assurance; Ethics check; Ethics inspection; Ethics monitoring; Ethics review; Ethics risk analysis; Ethics screening; Forensic audit; Integrity audit; Investigation; Moral audit; Social audit; Sustainability audit

Definition of an Ethics Audit

There are many types of audits used by and for organizations, such as financial audits, quality audits, project audits, operational audits, performance audits, and ethics audits. An ethics audit is the systematic, independent, and objective examination and evaluation of the ethical content of the object of the audit.

An audit is systematic when it entails typical steps like planning, defining a framework, fieldwork (collecting information and obtaining evidence) using established methods, analysis, judgment, reporting, and documentation. An audit is independent when someone who has no interests on the results of the audit performs it. This is the case when...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions


  • Kaptein M (1998) Ethics management: auditing and developing the ethical content of organizations. Springer, Dordrecht

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Kaptein M (2011) Understanding unethical behavior by unravelling ethical culture. Hum Relat 64:843–869

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Victor B, Cullen JB (1988) The organizational bases of ethical work climates. Adm Sci Q 33:101–125

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Muel Kaptein .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Kaptein, M. (2020). Ethics Audit. In: Poff, D., Michalos, A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-23514-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-23514-1

  • eBook Packages: Religion and PhilosophyReference Module Humanities and Social SciencesReference Module Business, Economics and Social Sciences

Publish with us

Policies and ethics