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FAR Working Paper 2023/08 - 15: Does Personality Relate to Job Performance of Audit Partners and Managers?

We investigate if personality traits are associated with the skills and job performance of experienced auditors. Based on survey and internal audit firm data from 1,600 Dutch auditors from the Big 4 and six mid-sized audit firms, we first provide descriptive evidence of significant variation in auditors' personality traits. Personality traits vary between Big 4 and non-Big 4 auditors, and auditors become increasingly homogenous in higher function levels. Next, we find that personality traits predict distinct skills (commercial, technical, and leadership) that are part of the auditor’s job. The tension that exists between the commercial and technical aspects of the audit is also reflected in opposing personality profiles that are beneficial for each of the skills. Finally, audit firm assessments of job performance are associated with personality, both directly, and indirectly through their effect on skills. Collectively, these results contribute to our limited understanding of personal characteristics and auditor performance. 


Lena Pieper PhD student

Lena Pieper is a PhD candidate at the Accounting and Information Management Department of Maastricht University, supervised by Prof. Ann Vanstraelen and Prof. Jere Francis. She obtained her MSc in International Business, specializing in Accounting, from Maastricht University (cum laude). Her broad research interests lie in the area of Audit research. She is interested in drivers of audit quality, specifically in understanding how different audit teams and their leaders function and how that impacts audit outcomes. 

She is also a member of the multidiscipliniary research theme Culture, Ethics and Leadership and serves as the PhD Representative in the GSBE board.

Together with Prof. Ann Vanstraelen, she co-coordinates and teaches an undergraduate Auditing course. 

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 Behavioral Research in Auditing at Nyenrode Business University. He is also a member of the daily board of the Foundation for Auditing Research (FAR). Bik worked in accounting practice for 18 years, since 2002 always in combination with a university appointment. He obtained his PhD at the University of Groningen with a dissertation on the effects of culture on accountant behavior.

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. 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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