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Evaluating the performance of auditors: a driver or a stabilizer of auditors’ behaviour

Rabih Nehme (Department of Finance and Accounting, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon)
Christelle AlKhoury (Department of Finance and Accounting, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon)
Abdullah Al Mutawa (Department of Accounting, Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, College of Business Studies, Kuwait City, Kuwait)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 26 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to identify differences in auditors’ dysfunctional behaviour when expecting performance appraisal. Its main aim is to examine variances across countries; UK vs Kuwait. Also, it identifies differences between experienced and inexperienced auditors.


The paper focuses on dysfunctional audit behaviour (DAB) where premature sign-off and under-reporting of chargeable time are chosen as the two main signalling proxies. A survey made up of statements included in performance appraisal templates is distributed among auditors working for the Big Four firms in both, the UK and Kuwait.


The paper shows how performance evaluation of external auditors affects their behaviour in the workplace. From a cultural standpoint, assessing the performance of auditors whilst working in a competitive market in a developed country is regarded as a potential driver for DAB variations. Evaluating auditors’ performance in a developing country is seen as a stabiliser of DAB. This research paper demonstrates that experienced auditors have a greater tendency to behave dysfunctionally as compared to inexperienced auditors.


Prior studies have been conducted to assess auditors’ performance through using internal and external attributes (Kaplan, 1985), offshoring basic steps of audit work (Downey, 2018), and the perception of audit clients about auditors’ performance (Reheul et al., 2013). Such studies were conducted mostly on developed countries on a standalone basis. In this study, the focus has been shifted from focusing on one country to comparing two different countries. The paper examines DAB between experienced and inexperienced auditors in the UK and in Kuwait when expecting performance evaluation.



The authors would like to thank the Editor Dr Luisa Huatuco, two anonymous reviewers and Cheikh Edmond Kozah for their constructive feedback throughout the review process.


Nehme, R., AlKhoury, C. and Al Mutawa, A. (2019), "Evaluating the performance of auditors: a driver or a stabilizer of auditors’ behaviour", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 69 No. 9, pp. 1999-2019.



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