Auditors often face situations in which acting on their professional obligations comes with potential personal costs. Drawing upon the Theory of Reputation in Organizations, we predict that perceived costs associated with these actions are lower for auditors with positive reputations, which, in turn, influences their actions. In our first experiment, participants perceive that auditors with negative reputations face a more constrained choice set when anticipating a budget overage. Further, participants perceive that those with positive reputations are more likely to proactively report the overage and less likely to underreport hours worked, a result mediated by the anticipated impact on evaluations for “speaking up.” In a second experiment, we manipulate reputation in a live simulation and demonstrate a causal link between reputation and auditors' skeptical action. Taken together, our experiments provide evidence that an auditor's perceived reputation influences their choice to engage in audit quality enhancing behaviors.

You do not currently have access to this content.