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Effects of Supervisor's Personality on the Support, Abuse, and Feedback Provided to Junior Accountants

Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research

ISBN: 978-1-83867-402-1, eISBN: 978-1-83867-401-4

Publication date: 23 July 2020


Purpose – Past literature suggests that the performance and turnover of the subordinate are affected by the support, abuse, and feedback provided by the supervisor. In this study, we posit that support, abuse, and feedback in an accounting firm, are in turn, affected by the supervisor's personality, as defined by the Big Five personality factors.

Methodology/approach – We conducted a web-based study with 115 accountants from a top 100 US accounting firm. The accountants completed questionnaires related to the personality of their supervisors along with questionnaires related to the support, abuse, and feedback they received from their supervisors. We analyzed the data using factor analysis and multiple regression.

Findings – We hypothesize that Openness and Agreeableness increase support; Neuroticism increases abuse, but less so if the supervisor is an Extravert; and Extraversion and Conscientiousness increase feedback. Among the hypothesized relationships, all are supported except the relationship between Openness and support. Additional findings are that Extraversion and Conscientiousness increase support; Agreeableness and Conscientiousness decrease abuse; and Agreeableness increases feedback.

Research implications – Our study contributes to the literature by demonstrating the relationship between the personality traits of supervisors and their behavior toward subordinates in an accounting setting. The results of our study can be used in identifying the supervisors who have the right personality for the position, which will likely improve the work environment and reduce turnover.




Earlier versions of this chapter were presented at American Accounting Association Northeast Regional meeting in 2011, and Southeast Regional and Accounting, Behavior, and Organizations meetings in 2012. The authors thank the participants for their feedback that improved the chapter.

This chapter is a part of the PhD dissertation of Shahriar Saadullah. He would like to thank the participating firm for their contribution to the chapter, his dissertation chair Charles Bailey, who is a coauthor in this chapter, for his guidance and compassion, and his dissertation committee members Zabihollah Rezaee, John Malloy, and David Allen for their efforts and kindness.


Saadullah, S.M., Bailey, C.D. and Awadallah, E. (2020), "Effects of Supervisor's Personality on the Support, Abuse, and Feedback Provided to Junior Accountants", Karim, K.E. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research (Advances in Accounting Behavioural Research, Vol. 23), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 119-140.



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