The Gendered Production of Audit Quality

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


Audit quality is a much studied issue. Recently, various auditing researchers have looked at the idea that audit quality may be systematically related to the auditor being male or female. Although this seams a genuine research question, the approach adopted by these researchers (incorporating 'sex/gender as a variable' into the research design) is highly problematic in nature and offers little to our understanding of complex social behavior. In this paper, we argue that female auditors are likely to experience subtle, but frequent stereotype threat because audit firms make gender salient. Little is known about how individual behavior inside audit firms might affect audit quality. From research on stereotype threat we know, however, that people produce stereotypical behavior in a self-fulfilling way when gender is made salient. Arguably, the display of stereotypical masculine (e.g., competitiveness) and feminine (e.g., nurturing) behaviors affects the production of audit quality. Using a qualitative methodology (based principally upon a program of semi-structured interviews), we investigate if audit firms elicit male-female behavioral differences that give rise to the production of gendered audit quality. Our findings demonstrate the manner in which the background gender frame becomes powerfully relevant in shaping the way people act upon their role as auditor. The paper identifies four (broad) themes that foster a systematic relationship between audit quality and the auditor being male or female: (1) the commercial side of auditing, (2) game-playing, (3) disappointment with the audit firm, and (4) the networked professional.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011
Event34rd Congress of the European Accounting Association - Rome, Italy
Duration: 1 Jan 20111 Jan 2011


Other34rd Congress of the European Accounting Association


  • audit quality
  • gender
  • audit firms
  • organizational embedding


Dive into the research topics of 'The Gendered Production of Audit Quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this