Auditing Section Research Summaries Space

A Database of Auditing Research - Building Bridges with Practice

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  • The Auditing Section
    A Reexamination of Behavior in Experimental Audit Markets:...
    research summary posted May 4, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.02 Impact of Fees on Decisions by Auditors & Management, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
    Title:
    A Reexamination of Behavior in Experimental Audit Markets: The Effects of Moral Reasoning and Economic Incentives on Auditor Reporting and Fees
    Practical Implications:

    These findings suggest that auditors with lower moral reasoning scores (i.e., who tend to cooperate with close allies, but tend to be less cooperative with other parties) might in some cases better adhere to the profession’s duties.  Auditors with higher moral reasoning scores (i.e., who tend to view norms and rules as flexible and interpret them depending on a situation) are more likely to depart from auditing conventions and cooperate with others to their mutual benefit.  There have been similar findings, i.e. contrary to what we might expect in relation to moral reasoning, in other research settings.

    Citation:

    Schatzberg, J. W., G. R. Sevcik, B. P. Shapiro, L. Thorne, and R. S. O. Wallace. 2005. A reexamination of behavior in experimental audit markets: The effects of moral reasoning and economic incentives on auditor reporting and fees. Contemporary Accounting Research 22 (1): 229-264.

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  • The Auditing Section
    A Test of the Selection-Socialization Theory in Moral...
    research summary posted May 7, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
    Title:
    A Test of the Selection-Socialization Theory in Moral Reasoning of CPAs in Industry Practice
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are useful for understanding what factors are influential in the moral development of CPAs. Practitioners should consider the results of this study when making hiring and promotion decisions. Results may also be informative to the development of ethical training programs.

    Citation:

    Abdolmohammadi, M. J. and D. L. Ariail. 2009. A Test of the Selection-Socialization Theory in Moral Reasoning of CPAs in Industry Practice. Behavioral Research in Accounting 21 (2): 1-12.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    An Examination of How Entry-Level Staff Auditors Respond to...
    research summary posted July 15, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.02 Impact of Fees on Decisions by Auditors & Management, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions, 04.09 Individual & Team Conduct - e.g., premature signoff, underreporting hours 
    Title:
    An Examination of How Entry-Level Staff Auditors Respond to Tone at the Top vis-a`-vis Tone at the Bottom.
    Practical Implications:

    These findings add to the understanding of how accountants respond to ethical tones at all levels within their organization and provide important evidence that the tone at the bottom is a key determinant, more so than tone at the top, of the ethical decision making of staff auditors. This study provides important insights into how ethical tone at multiple levels of an organization impacts entry-level employees’ ethical decision making. By recognizing the important role that immediate supervisors play in influencing their subordinates, organizations can more effectively promote an ethical culture at all levels of the organization and not simply at the top.

    Citation:

    Pickerd, J. S., Summers, S. L., & Wood, D. A. 2015. An Examination of How Entry-Level Staff Auditors Respond to Tone at the Top vis-a`-vis Tone at the BottomBehavioral Research in Accounting 27 (1): 79-98.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    An Investigation of Ethical Environments of CPAs: Public...
    research summary posted June 22, 2017 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
    Title:
    An Investigation of Ethical Environments of CPAs: Public Accounting versus Industry
    Practical Implications:

    Overall, having a clear understanding of ethical environment perception is important because it shapes behavior, influences views of reality, and identifies the relative strengths and weaknesses of ethical environments. The results from this study suggests organizations in industry may need to place an additional emphasis on developing and strengthening their ethical environments. They can accomplish this goal by providing ethics training, incentivizing ethical behavior, and having an ethical leadership style.

    Citation:

    Bobek, Donna D., D. W. Dalton, B. E. Duaghterty, A. M. Hangeman, and R. R. Radtke.2017. “An Investigation of Ethical Environments of CPAs: Public Accounting versus Industry”. Behavioral Research in Accounting 29.1 (2017): 43.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Antecedents to Unethical Corporate Conduct: Characteristics...
    research summary posted November 15, 2016 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions, 04.06 Reporting Ethics Breaches – Self & Others 
    Title:
    Antecedents to Unethical Corporate Conduct: Characteristics of the Complicit Follower
    Practical Implications:

    The findings from these two studies illustrate that the susceptible follower problem associated with these characteristics is pervasive, influencing two steps within the ethical decision-making process. Furthermore, the results suggest that more than one in ten individuals are vulnerable in ethical dilemmas.  

    Citation:

    Mowchan, M., D. J. Lowe and P. M. J. Reckers. 2015. Antecedents to Unethical Corporate Conduct: Characteristics of the Complicit Follower. Behavioral Research in Accounting 27 (2): 95-126. 

  • The Auditing Section
    Does “Political Bias” in the DIT or DIT-2 Threaten Val...
    research summary posted May 9, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
    Title:
    Does “Political Bias” in the DIT or DIT-2 Threaten Validity in Studies of CPAs?
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for understanding the implications of previous studies which have used the Defining Issues Test (DIT) or its later version the DIT-2 to measure the ethical reasoning and moral development of CPAs. The authors note that determining whether there is a true correlation between political orientation and the DIT P score is an intriguing debate that remains unsettled. The authors suggest that political belief should not be ignored and should be considered by researchers and included as a control variable in future studies to prevent misleading results.

    Citation:

    Bailey, C. D., T. J. Phillips and S. B. Scofield. 2005. Does “Political Bias” in the DIT or DIT-2 Threaten Validity in Studies of CPAs? Behavioral Research in Accounting 17 (1): 23-42.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    On the Operational Reality of Auditors' Independence:...
    research summary posted September 16, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
    Title:
    On the Operational Reality of Auditors' Independence: Lessons from the Field.
    Practical Implications:

    The in-depth study of real-life situations between auditors and auditees is crucial to be able to account for the micro-relational strategies deployed by auditors to navigate between capability and willingness, and to better understand the wide tactical repertoire used by auditees to interfere in the audit process, while formally complying with regulatory and legal constraints. The observations and analyses also have significant implications for accounting educators. Future public accountants should be taught to recognize the relational complexity of their work and the absence of clear boundaries between that which is internal and external to the audit process.

    Citation:

    Guénin-Paracini, H., B. Malsch, and M. Tremblay. 2015. On the Operational Reality of Auditors' Independence: Lessons from the Field. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 34 (2): 201-236.

  • The Auditing Section
    Revitalizing Accounting Ethics Research in the...
    research summary posted May 7, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
    Title:
    Revitalizing Accounting Ethics Research in the Neo-Kohlbergian Framework: Putting the DIT into Perspective
    Practical Implications:

    The findings of this paper are of importance for firms that are interested in accountants’ ethical and moral judgment. This paper provides a thorough and broad review on the usefulness of the Defining Issues Test (DIT). In addition, the authors propose a theoretical framework for research using the DIT. The authors suggest that ethical research should consider more components of ethical issues, such as moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation, and moral character. These findings and suggestions can help accounting firms in improving the ethical performance of accountants.

    Citation:

    Bailey, C. D., I. Scott, and S. J. Thoma.  2010.  Revitalizing Accounting Ethics Research in the Neo-Kohlbergian Framework: Putting the DIT into Perspective. Behavioral Research in Accounting 22 (2): 1-26.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Effects of Professional Role, Decision Context, and...
    research summary posted July 16, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions, 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.04 Auditors’ Professional Skepticism 
    Title:
    The Effects of Professional Role, Decision Context, and Gender on the Ethical Decision Making of Public Accounting Professionals.
    Practical Implications:

    In the study, subjects who are less relativistic are less likely to concede to the client. This study identifies an interesting gender difference with respect to the ethical decision-making process between male and female accountants. Given that the lines dividing auditors and tax professionals are increasingly being blurred, firms’ training programs should take into consideration both differences in context and individual differences in experiences due to professional roles. With the increased emphasis on firms’ ethics training, these results add to the premise that one size fits all training programs are unlikely to achieve the desired results, and that firms’ ethics training may need to be tailored to account for different individual approaches to decision making.

    Citation:

    Bobek, D. D., Hageman, A. M., & Radtke, R. R. 2015. The Effects of Professional Role, Decision Context, and Gender on the Ethical Decision Making of Public Accounting Professionals. Behavioral Research in Accounting 27 1: 55-78.

  • The Auditing Section
    The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis...
    research summary posted April 23, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.10 Prior Dispositions/Biases/Auditor state of mind 
    Title:
    The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study show that auditors in a negative mood performed better in a hypothesis generation task than did auditors in a positive mood. On the other hand, auditors in a positive mood made more ethical judgments on both a sample-size and inventory write-off ethical dilemma. The study increases our understanding of the effects of mood on auditors’ ethical and professional judgments. The results of this study may be helpful to audit firms in structuring their ethical policies and procedures and developing training programs. In addition, the influence of mood on hypothesis generation may be of particular concern considering the importance of analytical procedures to the audit process.

    Citation:

    Cianci, A.M. and J.L. Bierstaker. 2009.  The impact of positive and negative mood on the hypothesis generation and ethical judgments of auditors. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 28 (2): 119-144.

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