Published Aug 28, 2020
Amanda Lyn Wilford Lawrence D. Bodin Lawrence A. Gordon


Since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, many studies have examined the impact of material weaknesses in internal control systems (MWICS) on firm performance. Overall, these studies indicate that a negative association exists between poor internal control and firm performance. Prior research suggests that the above noted association between internal control and firm performance should be affected by both the actual number and the different types of MWICS. However, this stream of research has focused on using a binary measure for internal control and has not considered the combined impact that the different types of MWICS may have on firm performance. In this study, we create and introduce a new internal control index, derived from the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). We then show that more information regarding the impact of MWICS can be obtained through our AHP index measure as opposed to the binary measure that is commonly used. These findings have important implications for a firm’s stakeholders (e.g., managers, stockholders, creditors, financial analysts, employees, and auditors).


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Analytic Hierarchy Process, internal control, performance measurement, material weakness, internal control measures

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