Dysfunctional Auditor Behavior: The Effects of Tone at the Top and Supervisors’ Relationships
Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2013
This study examines the influence of firm management’s ethical “tone at the top” (tone) and the working relationship of an auditor with his/her supervisor (senior) on the auditor’s propensity to engage in an unethical, dysfunctional auditor behavior (DAB). Findings indicate that environmental factors influence the staff auditor’s decision of whether or not to follow a course of action suggested by the supervisor that is contrary to both the audit program and generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). Specifically, auditors are influenced by the tone that the partner sets for the firm and by the working relationship that the staff auditor has with the supervising senior auditor. The results of this research have ramifications for the auditing profession, as they identify specific factors outside of auditing standards and beyond an auditor’s moral reasoning capabilities that can influence the acceptance of unethical, dysfunctional behavior.
Keywords: ethics, tone at the top, dysfunctional auditor behavior, DAB
JEL Classification: M4, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation