Research interest

Jan Svanberg leads the project "Is Audit Judgment Constrained by Charismatic Client Leadership? An Experimental Examination of Auditor Objectivity and Auditor-Client Negotiation Tactics". The project is supported by a research grant from Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser. The project is jointly conducted by Dr. Jan Svanberg, Professor Peter Öhman, Mid Sweden University and Professor Presha Neidermeyer, West Virginia University.

In the proposed research we examine whether charismatic client leaders influence financial auditors with the effect that auditors’ judgments are constrained (project 1). We also examine if auditors’ identification with client firms and charismatic client leadership impact auditors’ choices of initial negotiation tactics when auditors negotiate discretionary accounting issues with their clients (project 2).

We use experimental designs that manipulate our main variables charismatic client leadership and client identification at two levels each (high/low). Participants are auditors of Big-4 audit firms. The proposed research is a significant expansion of our previous program which was supported by grant P2014-0260:1. The proposed research contributes substantially to the accounting literature in several ways.

  1. First, project 1 focuses on a threat to auditors’ objectivity that has been unknown to the accounting literature. Our proposed research is the first experimental examination of the impact of charismatic client leadership on auditor objectivity.
  2. Second, we contribute to the accounting literature by showing that charismatic client leadership is a short tenure threat, which cannot be countered by audit firm rotation.
  3. Third, because perceived charismatic client leadership may also constrain auditor judgment when clients are financially small we expand the literature on independence threats substantially which has previously examined threats relating to large clients.

Project 2 contributes to the accounting literature because it provides evidence, unknown to the accounting literature, of the impact of auditors client identification on auditors’ choices of initial negotiation tactics and because it is the first study to examine whether charismatic client leaders impact on auditors’ choices of initial negotiation tactics.

Published by: Camilla Haglund Page responsible: Svante Brunåker Updated: 2016-12-21
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