How auditors’ internal and external interactive relationships impact their judgment and decision-making


The project explores junior auditors’ tendency to imitate senior auditors’ auditing practices styles and, additionally, how the firm’s promotion pressures may affect audit quality through such mimicking behavior. Second, the research project considers audit team engagements and investigates factors that may either foster or hamper auditors’ herd behavior in fraud assessment tasks. Third, the project examines how auditor tenure and shareholder involvement in the selection of auditors influence auditors’ decision to report more original information than management discloses in the financial report.


The main goal of this research project is to investigate key elements that affect the quality of auditor judgment and decision-making and the resulting quality of audits. This project gives consideration to: (1) the underlying drivers of auditor judgment and decision-making, such as organizational circumstances (e.g., junior-senior relationships, team interactions, tenure time) that may stimulate auditors or, conversely, prevent them from working in the manner expected of them; (2) the underlying causes of good and poor audit quality such as the role of imitation and herding (and related reputation concerns); and (3) the effectiveness of potential interventions (e.g., the firm’s incentive system, institutional rules of hiring and selecting auditors) that could be implemented to enhance audit quality. In doing so, this project intends to break new ground in several areas and to shed light on some important topics that, thus far, remained unexplored. More broadly, studying the drivers and root causes of audit quality may also help in the identification of ‘best’ or ‘bad’ practices, from which students and professionals at all levels can learn.

Project Number

Research Team
Prof. Eddy Cardinaels
Dr. Kristof Stouthuysen
Dr. Evelien Reusen

Involved University
KU Leuven (Belgium)

11/18 – 10/22