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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…
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.
From an online survey of 114 participating accountants at staff, senior staff, and supervisor levels from a top-100 U.S. accounting firm, we investigate the effects of the…
From an online survey of 114 participating accountants at staff, senior staff, and supervisor levels from a top-100 U.S. accounting firm, we investigate the effects of the Big Five personality traits (Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness) on the ethical decision-making process of accountants. Within the framework of Rest’s (1986) Four-Component Model of Ethical Behavior, we focus on Component III, the formation of an intention to act upon one’s best ethical judgment. Based on the limited extant literature on the connection between personality and ethical behavior, we expect that accountants high in Conscientiousness and Openness will tend to form an intention to act ethically despite pressure in an ethical dilemma. We develop more tentative hypotheses about the remaining three factors. Controlling for age, gender, education, sole earning status, and experience, we find clear positive statistical effects of only Conscientiousness and Openness. These findings have implications for the human resource departments of accounting firms, as well as contributing to a basic understanding of the relationships between Big Five personality factors and ethical intention.