The influence of organizational conditions on professional conduct: a case study in a big four accounting firm

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Contemporarily, the audit profession is subject to a lack of trust and confidence in the professional conduct of the auditors. In the literature it is argued that organizational conditions can have an influence on professional conduct, which can be an explanation for this lack of trust. The framework of Vriens et al. (2018) was used to examine to what extent these conditions in a professional audit firm influence the professional conduct of auditors. This has been studied by conducting semi-structured interviews in a big four accounting firm in the Netherlands. From the interviews it could be concluded that market goal hinder the auditors in their application and development of professional knowledge and skills. On the other hand, the condition technology was perceived to be enabling for the secure intensive technology. The conditions ‘bureaucratic goals’, ‘structure’ and ‘performance measurement systems’ were both hindering and enabling professional conduct. These results have provided insight into which conditions enable or hinder professional conduct in this specific audit firm, which can be an explanation for the lack of trust of the public in the audit profession. The operationalization of the framework can also be used for future research on the accountability of audit firms.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen