Checking, not trusting: trust, distrust and cultural experience in the auditing profession

Mark R. Dibben, Jacob M. Rose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter explores the interaction of trust and distrust with the associative cultural tiles of organizational and professional values, operating within individual auditors in accounting firms. Building on recent research into trust and culture in healthcare management, the authors consider the way in which this particular professional context (i.e. cultural sphere) affects trust, and at how trust and distrust can exist co-terminously in the same auditor. The chapter shows how an auditorʹs trust and distrust in their clients affects their professional judgments and decisions, and how sound auditing judgments may run counter to the accounting firmʹs needs. Findings include the revelation that less effective, highly trusting auditors tend to stay within the profession but more effective, less trusting auditors leave. Introduction Although there is an extensive literature in management studies examining organizational cultures and their influence on firm performance (e.g. Barney, 1986; Pheysey, 1993; Sackman, 1997), little is written in the accounting literature about the role of culture in accounting practice. To this end, a very recent synthesis in Behavioural Research in Accounting (Jenkins et al., 2008) of accounting-firm culture and governance concludes that there is a ‘paucity’ of research in all areas of accounting culture (2008: 49). Such a relative lack of interest in the accounting literature is in spite of the fact that accounting regulators themselves view sound organizational culture as critical to protecting the public good (PCAOB, 2004), because it helps prevent intentionally fraudulent misstatement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganizational Trust
Subtitle of host publicationA Cultural Perspective
EditorsMark N. K. Saunders, Denise Skinner, Graham Dietz, Nicole Gillespie, Roy J. Lewicki
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780511763106
ISBN (Print)9780521492911
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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