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FAR Practice Note - Audit Partner-Manager Dyadic Fit and Team Functioning

This study investigates the formation of audit partner-manager pairings (called dyads) on audit engagements, and the consequences of this dyad formation on the functioning of the engagement team. Prior studies mainly focus on the role of a single team leader, while in practice, an audit team is usually led by two senior individuals, the manager and the engagement partner. This dual-leadership structure and its potential effect on the team are largely unexplored topics. We draw on the theory of homophily to develop and test predictions using data from 221 Dutch engagement teams. The analyses suggest that partners and managers that form a dyad are more similar in terms of their skills and leadership behaviors than would be the case for randomly matched partners and managers. However, dyad similarity is not always beneficial for the functioning of the engagement team. In fact, dyad similarity generally has a negative effect on team climate and team performance. The exception is when the partner and manager are both highly skilled and demonstrate strong leadership behaviors. Otherwise, a complementary matching of skills and leadership behaviors of the partner and manager is superior and leads to better team climate and team performance. Team performance is self-assessed: how well the audit engagement team performed. Team climate is measured as the team’s assessment of psychological safety, team commitment, and team identity. Our findings on partner-manager dyads can inform audit firms on how to better assign and manage their audit teams, particularly since the audit partner chooses the manager most of the time (68 percent of the engagements in our study).


Prof. dr. Jere R. Francis

Professor Jere Francis is ranked among the top ten academics to publish in leading scientific journals in the field of accountancy research. He won two awards from the American Accounting Association (AAA) for his substantial contribution to auditing research. He was also named Outstanding Audit Educator in 2013 by the AAA. Professor Francis served on the editorial boards of several leading scientific journals, including Abacus, Accounting Organizations & Society, Accounting & Finance, Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Contemporary Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting & Economics, Review of Accounting Studies, and The Accounting Review. In addition to being of scientific import, his research has been of practical significance to accountants and regulatory authorities and he has presented his research to leading international accountancy firms, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the World Bank and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in the United States. As FAR Research Chair, Professor Francis conducts scientific research on the quality of audits. He will also boost auditing education in the Netherlands with the help of several PhD students as part of this chair position.

Prof. dr. Murray R. Barrick

Professor Barrick’s research focuses on the impact individual differences in behavior and personality have on job performance and on methods of measuring and predicting such differences.  He also is a co-author of the Theory of Purposeful Work Behavior, which highlights the role of purposefulness and experienced meaningfulness arising within the person as a key to explaining person-situation interactions.  Further, Barrick studies executive team success, examining the role of the CEO, personality and leadership of TMT members, team composition, team interdependence, and team processes on individual, team, and firm performance.  Finally, he also has examined the influence candidate self-presentation tactics have on the interviewer during an employment interview.

Prof. dr. Olof Bik RA

Olof Bik is professor of Auditing & Assurance at the University of Groningen. In his research he takes a special interest in the study of culture, leadership, and behavior in the realm of the auditing and assurance profession, firms, and teams. Since its inception in 2015 until 2022, Bik was one of two managing directors and academic member of the Board of the Foundation for Auditing Research. He worked in the audit practice of PwC for 18 years, since 2002 always in combination with a university appointment (Groningen), and joined academia in full since 2012 (Nyenrode). 

Dr. Lena Pieper

Lena Pieper is Assistant Professor at Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She joined Gies after completing a PhD from Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics in the Netherlands. Lena spent time at Gies as a visiting PhD student in Spring 2022, and she brings research experience in auditing and leadership.

Prof. dr. Ann Vanstraelen

Ann Vanstraelen is Full Professor of Accounting and Assurance Services at Maastricht University and serves as Head of the department of Accounting and Information Management. She coordinates the multidisciplinary research theme "Culture, Ethics and Leadership". She earned her PhD at the University of Antwerp. Her research interests relate to the broad field of auditing and assurance services, governance, corporate reporting and disclosure, with a specific focus on the quality of accounting and auditing practices. 


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