How Does Intrinsic Motivation Improve Auditor Judgment in Complex Audit Tasks?

Posted: 13 Mar 2015 Last revised: 26 Jul 2018

See all articles by Kathryn Kadous

Kathryn Kadous

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Yuepin (Daniel) Zhou

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Accountancy

Date Written: October 1, 2017

Abstract

Intrinsic motivation is generally thought to be positively associated with performance on a variety of tasks; however, there is only sparse experimental evidence supporting this idea and we know little about the specific mechanisms behind any effect. We develop theory about how auditors’ intrinsic motivation for their jobs can improve their judgments about complex accounting estimates. We experimentally test whether a prompt to make auditors’ intrinsic motivation for their jobs salient improves the specific information processing behaviors necessary for high-quality judgments in complex audit tasks. It does: Prompted auditors attend to a broader set of information, process information more deeply, and request more relevant additional evidence. Supplemental analyses show that these processing behaviors mediate between salient intrinsic motivation and an improved ability to identify a biased complex estimate. Our theory and analyses indicate that auditors’ intrinsic motivation for their work provides unique value for improving judgment quality, particularly in the context of performing complex audit tasks. Our study supports the view that high-quality cognitive processing can improve auditors’ professional skepticism by providing a foundation for skeptical judgments.

Keywords: Intrinsic Motivation, Cognitive Processing, Complex Estimate, Professional Skepticism

JEL Classification: M40, M41, G10, M42

Suggested Citation

Kadous, Kathryn and Zhou, Yuepin, How Does Intrinsic Motivation Improve Auditor Judgment in Complex Audit Tasks? (October 1, 2017). Contemporary Accounting Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2576984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2576984

Kathryn Kadous (Contact Author)

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States
404-727-4967 (Phone)

Yuepin Zhou

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Accountancy ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
2,782
PlumX Metrics