Bonding forged in “auditing hell”: The emotional qualities of Big Four auditors
This article investigates how auditors come to make a longer-term commitment to their profession through coping with the demands and intensity of working in the Big Four firms. Through analysis of ethnographic data and thirty-one interviews, we show that the difficulties of team work and the complexity of audit engagements can lead auditors to develop emotional qualities of constructive pedagogy, pragmatic self-abnegation, and collective resilience. These qualities may help auditors to manage the intensity of the negative and positive emotions triggered by their work, and to find longer-term strategies for dealing with the constraints inherent in auditing. Our study does not aim to suggest unduly that all auditors are capable of developing these emotional qualities, but rather to shed light on the dynamic of emotions that drives some auditors to bond with each other, and thus in some cases commit to the profession for the longer term.
This article was published in Critical Perspective in Accounting .
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