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Organizational learning and job satisfaction of trainee auditors: a case study of Chinese CPA firms

Guangyou Liu (Business School, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China)
Hong Ren (School of International Relations, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China)

Accounting Research Journal

ISSN: 1030-9616

Article publication date: 1 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the organizational learning of trainee auditors who represent the young generation of new entry-level professionals in CPA firms, and examines the possible associations between organizational learning and job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey is administered among the target group of trainee auditors to explore possible approaches to their organizational learning in CPA firms. The results are used to generate organizational learning variables, which enable us to empirically test the research hypotheses regarding the association between organizational learning and job satisfaction.

Findings

The authors conclude that there are three main dimensions of organizational learning for new entry-level professionals in CPA firms, namely: workplace interactions, supervising and monitoring and supportive informational systems. The authors also find that workplace interactions and supportive information systems are significantly associated with job satisfaction. The authors show that the females and males prefer different approaches to organizational learning in CPA firms. The authors also find that trainee auditors who work for bigger CPA firms enjoy more job satisfaction than those working for smaller CPA firms, and that male trainee auditors are more easily satisfied with audit jobs than female trainees.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited in that its sample is composed of trainee auditors, who are used to proxy for entry-level professionals in CPA firms. Future studies can include a direct focus on the organizational learning of junior auditors in CPA firms. Future studies can also investigate organizational learning in the firm-wide context in which CPA firms and their employees are considered as part of a larger situational process of organizational learning.

Practical implications

The conclusions can help to improve practice management and human resource policies in CPA firms. The findings highlight the importance of establishing an effective organizational learning culture, and suggest how this can be achieved by providing friendly and instructive workplace interactions, helpful supervisory and mentoring relationships, and better information support.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the audit literature by identifying the three dimensions of organizational learning for entry-level professionals in CPA firms. The authors substantiate the argument that mentor-protégé relationships in CPA firms have different effects on job satisfaction for female and male trainee auditors.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, G. and Ren, H. (2019), "Organizational learning and job satisfaction of trainee auditors: a case study of Chinese CPA firms", Accounting Research Journal, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 70-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARJ-04-2016-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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