Doctoral Thesis An Organizational Perspective on Auditor Conduct

Defended on Friday, 29 May 2015


Auditor misconduct has played a crucial role in the financial turmoil of the past decades, but is hardly understood itself. Research to date has focused almost exclusively on how external regulations can guard the integrity and quality of audit services, but has ignored the influence of audit firms’ organizational features on auditor behavior. This is a potentially serious omission as organizational factors may be potential causes for auditor misconduct, and because organizational practices could be potential remedies to auditor misconduct. In this dissertation, I seek to redirect the conversation on auditor conduct by taking an organizational perspective. This dissertation therefore provides compelling evidence that the organizational context of audit firms indeed has a significant impact on auditor behavior. In so doing, I show that an exclusive reliance on regulatory reforms may not be sufficient to foster auditor integrity and that effective remedies to combat audit failures reside at the level of the organizations providing the audit. I therefore provide important and innovative contributions to both the Audit and Organizational literatures.


Auditor behavior, audit firm, organizational governance, tournament theory, institutional complexity, institutional disruption, stakeholder-agency theory, auditor failure

Time frame

2010 - 2013

Preferred reference

J.K.L.P. Pruijssers, An Organizational Perspective on Auditor Conduct, Promotors:prof.dr. Pursey Heugens,prof.dr. Hans van Oosterhout,


Jorien Pruijssers
Jorien Pruijssers

Supervisory Team

Pursey Heugens
Professor of Organization Theory, Development, and Change, Scientific Director ERIM, Dean of Research RSM
  • Promotor
Hans van Oosterhout
Professor of Corporate Governance and Responsibility
  • Promotor