Why is trait skepticism not consistently reflected in audit judgments? An exploratory study into the role of aesthetic engagement

Jahanzeb Khan, Noel Harding

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

An underlying skeptical disposition (trait skepticism) is seen as a key quality of audit personnel, but when this underlying propensity toward doubt is not reflected in audit judgments (state skepticism), auditors are at risk of falling short of expectations for an appropriately high level of professional skepticism. We examine whether an individual’s predisposition towards engagement with attractive and appealing (but non-diagnostic) characteristics of the environment (aesthetic engagement) can help explain why trait skepticism is not consistently reflected in audit judgments. We first develop and validate a scale to measure an individual’s aesthetic engagement inclination, and then demonstrate the importance of this underlying personality trait in more completely understanding the relationship between trait skepticism and state skepticism. We find that the effect of trait skepticism is dependent on the level of aesthetic engagement. That is, aesthetic engagement attenuates the positive relationship between trait and state skepticism. Importantly, we find that with increases in aesthetic engagement, not only is the positive relationship between trait and state skepticism reduced, but with further increases in aesthetic engagement, the relationship between trait and state skepticism becomes negative. Our findings highlight the likely importance of aesthetic engagement in helping auditors meet ongoing expectations for an elevated level of professional skepticism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event2016 AFAANZ Conference - Jupiters Hotel, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 03 Jul 201605 Jul 2016

Conference

Conference2016 AFAANZ Conference
CountryAustralia
CityGold Coast
Period03/07/1605/07/16

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