Inspectors frequently identify deficiencies on global group audits (GGAs) attributed to problems in coordination and communication among the multiple participating firms. As GGAs involve large multinational entities with extensive global reach, the costs of audit failure are high. Prior research and theory suggest that coordination and communication challenges are common when interdependent teams perform work in complex environments. Studying actual experiences of 147 group audit leaders, we find that clients' size/regulatory status and global structure contribute to coordination/communication challenges, but language/cultural barriers are less important. We also investigate strategies that group auditors can use to mitigate challenges, finding that modularization (advance scripting of work) and ongoing communication (availability/use of communication channels) are not as effective as tacit coordination (leveraging common ground through knowledge/experience). The variation in knowledge of component teams reported by participants leads to the question of whether group auditors can influence the training and/or selection of component personnel.

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