It's Not My Fault! Insights into Subordinate Auditors’ Attributions and Emotions Following Audit Review
Posted: 20 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 12, 2018
This study utilizes attribution theory to guide an exploration of how subordinate auditors understand, rationalize, and internalize recollections of their actual experiences (both worst and best) with audit review. Respondents externally rationalize worst review experiences as the fault of an inattentive or incompetent supervisor, a flawed engagement review process, or familiar stressors of the audit environment. Worst reviews evoke frustration, invisibility, and powerlessness that can demotivate subordinates. We also find that respondents relationally attribute their best review experiences to reciprocal relationships and effective communication with their supervisor. Best reviews produce feelings of appreciation and a sense of control for subordinates that inspires comradery and a desire to work hard. Respondents’ insights raise a number of concerns regarding the effectiveness of review as a quality control mechanism and for shaping auditors, but also highlight that a positive role model and effective supervisor-subordinate interactions can help the subordinate grow as a reflexive professional.
Keywords: Audit review, attribution theory, affect, audit quality, organizational control
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