It's Not My Fault! Insights into Subordinate Auditors’ Attributions and Emotions Following Audit Review

Posted: 20 Mar 2018

See all articles by Lindsay M. Andiola

Lindsay M. Andiola

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) - Department of Accounting

Jean C. Bedard

Bentley University - Department of Accountancy

Kim Westermann

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Date Written: March 12, 2018

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Andiola, Lindsay M. and Bedard, Jean C. and Westermann, Kimberly, It's Not My Fault! Insights into Subordinate Auditors’ Attributions and Emotions Following Audit Review (March 12, 2018). Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3141310

Lindsay M. Andiola

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) - Department of Accounting ( email )

Richmond, VA 23284
United States

Jean C. Bedard

Bentley University - Department of Accountancy ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452
United States
781-891-2410 (Phone)
781-891-2896 (Fax)

Kimberly Westermann (Contact Author)

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

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