Auditor acceptance of dysfunctional audit behavior: an explanatory model using auditors' personal characteristics

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Donnelly, David P.
Quirin, Jeffrey J.
O'Bryan, David

David P. Donnelly, Jeffrey J. Quirin, and David O'Bryan (2003) Auditor Acceptance of Dysfunctional Audit Behavior: An Explanatory Model Using Auditors' Personal Characteristics. Behavioral Research in Accounting: February 2003, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 87-110.


Dysfunctional behavior (DB) and staff turnover are associated with decreased audit quality (Public Oversight Board 2000). Dysfunctional behaviors such as premature sign‐off, gathering of insufficient evidence, altering or replacing audit procedures, and underreporting of time have negative effects on the auditing profession. While recent studies suggest that dysfunctional behavior is a widespread problem (Smith 1995; Otley and Pierce 1995), extant research fails to adequately explain the causes. In this study, the organizational behavior and industrial psychology literatures provide the basis for developing and testing a model that identifies locus of control, performance, and turnover intentions as determinants of auditor acceptance of DB. Using a cross‐organizational design and a structural equation modeling technique, survey results from 106 auditors generally support the explanatory model. Results indicate that auditors who are more accepting of DB tend to possess an external locus of control, report lower levels of self‐rated performance, and exhibit higher turnover intentions. These results suggest that individual auditor characteristics play a role in identifying those who are more accepting of DB.

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