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Organizational commitment and auditors in public accounting

Lawrence P. Kalbers (Department of Accounting, College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA)
William J. Cenker (Department of Accountancy, Boler School of Business, John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio, USA)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 24 April 2007

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine organizational commitment within the context of important antecedents, correlates, and consequences for auditors in public accounting. Specifically, to explore the relationships among the constructs of experience, role ambiguity, organizational commitment (affective and continuance), job satisfaction, and turnover intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrated model is developed and tested using structural equation modeling techniques. A sample of 334 auditors working for international and regional public accounting firms in a major metropolitan area of the USA is used to test the model.

Findings

The findings support nearly all of the hypothesized relationships. Auditors with more experience have less role ambiguity, have more affection for their organization, and are less inclined to leave their organization. Continuance commitment plays a less important role in the integrated model. However, the study lends support to the notion that the two dimensions of continuance commitment, high sacrifice and low alternatives, are distinct and have different patterns of relationships with other important variables.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was taken from one geographic area of the US and may not be representative of all auditors. Auditors from the regional public accounting firms may not be representative of other regional firms.

Practical implications

Despite the fact that auditors with higher levels of affective organizational commitment and job satisfaction are less likely to leave their organizations, the findings also indicate a direct link with more experience and the desire to leave the firm. Role ambiguity and continuance commitment do not have direct links to turnover intentions, but deserve consideration for their indirect influence on important job outcomes.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the study of organizational commitment by using auditors from all job levels and from public accounting firms from varying sizes. Few studies have examined the sub‐dimensions of continuance commitment for auditors.

Keywords

Citation

Kalbers, L.P. and Cenker, W.J. (2007), "Organizational commitment and auditors in public accounting", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 354-375. https://doi.org/10.1108/02686900710741928

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited