Communication Is a Two-way Street: Analyzing Approaches Undertaken to Systematically Transfer Audit Research Knowledge to Policymakers

81 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2018 Last revised: 7 Apr 2020

See all articles by Steven Salterio

Steven Salterio

Queen's University - Smith School of Business

Kris Hoang

University of Alabama - Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration

Yi Luo

Queen's University - Smith School of Business

Date Written: March 23, 2020

Abstract

Audit academics and policymakers exhibit continuing concerns about the limited transfer of audit research findings to policymakers. We use knowledge transfer best practices to evaluate eight audit domain specific practices for their potential to transfer audit knowledge. Our analysis shows that while several less formal audit practices can contribute to knowledge transfer, the literature reviews produced under the PCAOB-AAA Auditing Section “research synthesis project” (RSP) are the practice that incorporates relatively more such best practice norms. We corroborate our documentary analysis of the RSP practice with RSP author interviews. We find that RSP authors anchored on the traditional academic literature review model to achieve their goal of knowledge transfer to policymakers but insufficiently adjusted that model to make it effective for that purpose. Despite the departures from best practices, we investigate the RSP reviews to determine if some audit research knowledge transfer occurred. First, we examine whether the intended recipients of the RSP reviews’ knowledge transfer can use that knowledge. Employing thirteen RSP reviews, we find that early career accounting professionals can use the reviews’ research evidence to evaluate existing standards and to recommend standards’ changes. Second, we investigate whether standard setters made use of the RSP reviews in their decisions by analyzing the research citations in the PCAOB rule-making dockets. We find that the PCAOB dockets increasingly cited research over the RSP life. Based on the finding of some knowledge transfer due to the RSP reviews, we suggest that a best knowledge transfer practices research synthesis approach warrants further investigation.

Keywords: audit standard setting; communication theory; knowledge transfer; evidence-informed policymaking

JEL Classification: M40, M42, M48, K23

Suggested Citation

Salterio, Steven E. and Hoang, Kris and Luo, Yi, Communication Is a Two-way Street: Analyzing Approaches Undertaken to Systematically Transfer Audit Research Knowledge to Policymakers (March 23, 2020). 2019 Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA) Annual Conference. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3224709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3224709

Steven E. Salterio (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Smith School of Business ( email )

Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada
613-533-6926 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://smith.queensu.ca/faculty_and_research/faculty_list/salterio-steven.php

Kris Hoang

University of Alabama - Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration ( email )

Culverhouse College of Business
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0223
United States

Yi Luo

Queen's University - Smith School of Business ( email )

143 Union Street
Smith School of Business
Kingston, Ontario K7L3N6
Canada

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