Auditor commitment and turnover intentions following negative inspection findings: the effects of regulator enforcement style and firm response

Kristian Martinow, Robyn Moroney, Noel Harding

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We examine the effect of the regulator's style (critical vs supportive) when enforcing negative inspection findings and the audit firm's response to those findings (increase or decrease audit process structure) on auditor professional and firm commitment and turnover intentions. We find no evidence that enforcement style impacts professional commitment, but that auditors are more inclined to leave the profession when the regulator adopts a critical enforcement style and when their firm increases audit process structure. We further find that firm commitment is lower when the firm increases audit process structure, and that this is most pronounced when the regulator adopts a supportive enforcement style. We find no evidence of firm turnover intentions being impacted by either enforcement style or firm response. Recognizing the importance of retaining competent and motivated auditors, our results highlight the care needed, and alternatives available, when regulators enforce, and firms respond to, negative inspection findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-165
Number of pages23
JournalAuditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • audit regulation
  • audit inspections
  • turnover intentions
  • commitment
  • audit quality
  • enforcement style

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