Auditors' Perceptions of Client Firms: The Stigma of Decline and the Stigma of Growth

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschung


This paper examines the relationship between auditors' perceptions of client organizations' growth/ decline status and the auditors' assessments of client managers' competence and integrity. It is hypothesized that perceived growth/decline status will have an inverted-U relationship with perceived management competence and integrity. If client organizations are perceived by auditors as rapidly declining or rapidly growing, the auditors' evaluations of their managers' competence and integrity will be lower than if the organizations are perceived as stable. Results from a study of auditors' perceptions of 123 actual client organizations are partially supportive of the hypotheses. We conclude that rapid organizational decline may be stigmatizing in the eyes of auditors because it raises questions about management competence. Rapid organizational growth also may be stigmatizing, but for a different reason: it creates auditor doubts about management integrity. The results of the study are discussed from the perspectives of organization studies and auditing research after which suggestions for future investigation are made.

ZeitschriftAccounting, Organizations and Society
Seiten (von - bis)193-213
Anzahl der Seiten21
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.02.1996
Extern publiziertJa