Year of Publication

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department/School/Program

Accountancy

First Advisor

Dr. Sean Peffer

Abstract

Psychological ownership theory suggests that auditors are more likely to exert effort when they feel a sense of personal ownership of the audit. Ongoing trends towards a more compartmentalized and decentralized audit, however, may impair auditors’ work ownership by decreasing their interaction with work, as well as by discouraging engagement with work performed by colleagues. In two experiments, I test the effects of audit work compartmentalization, where I consider whether auditors’ evaluation of evidence is affected by the source of the sample to which evidence is related. Findings from my first experiment indicate lower performance when auditors evaluate evidence that relates to a sample selected for them by a colleague auditor compared to a sample selected by either themselves or a technological system. Additional analysis indicates that auditors were more likely to engage and take ownership of work when it related to a sample selected by either themselves or a technological system. In a second experiment, I consider whether a colleague’s use of technology in sample selection mitigates auditors’ tendencies to disengage with their work when a colleague auditor performs sample selection, as well as whether variation in a colleague’s involvement in sample selection impacts evidence evaluation. Contrary to expectations, I find evidence that auditors perform worse when technology-assisted sample selection required greater colleague involvement. Collectively, findings indicate the importance of considering psychological ownership and engagement in decisions related to work design and indicate potential benefits of technology use in a sample-based test of details task.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2022.046

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