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Auditor objectivity as a function of auditor negotiation self-efficacy beliefs

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Author list: Öhman, Peter
Publication year: 2018
ISSN: 0882-6110

Abstract

This study empirically examines whether an auditors perceived ability to negotiate discretionary accounting issues with clients (auditor negotiation self-efficacy) is related to auditor objectivity, and whether an auditors negotiation self-efficacy has a greater impact on her objectivity when the auditors accuracy motive (professional identity) is strong rather than weak. We tested the hypotheses using a cross-sectional survey design and obtained 146 responses from among 800 surveyed experienced Swedish auditors. The findings indicate that auditors with higher negotiation self-efficacy were more likely to make decisions on a material and discretionary accounting issue contrary to their clients’ desires compared to auditors with lower self-efficacy. The relationship between negotiation self-efficacy and auditor objectivity was not moderated by professional-identity strength. These research findings suggest that recruiting and training auditors to increase their negotiation self-efficacy may be an effective method to enhance auditor objectivity without the problems inherent in other methods, such as auditor rotation. Our sample was obtained in Sweden, which allows long auditor tenures. We caution that, although our analysis controlled for auditor tenure, the effect of auditor negotiation self-efficacy may not be generalizable to countries that limit tenure through regulation.


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