SUMMARY: Audit research has generally concluded that auditors primarily organize their memory of financial statement errors by audit objective rather than transaction cycle. Although this stream of research has typically used the cue sorting method, the concept of primary organizing dimension is believed to be sufficiently general to obtain consistent results with other experimental methods (e.g., Nelson et al. 1995). The purpose of this study is to determine if the finding that auditor knowledge of financial statement errors is organized primarily around audit objectives can be replicated with a priming/reaction time method. The priming/reaction time method is widely used in knowledge structure research and appears consistent with the concept of primary organizing dimension discussed in the audit literature. We conducted a study with sorting and priming/reaction time phases. Consistent with prior research, the sorting phase found that audit objective was the primary organizing dimension for both managers and staff. However, the priming/reaction time phase found that managers’ knowledge was primarily structured around transaction cycle, while staff demonstrated no primary organizing structure.

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