Auditors gone wild: The "other" problem in public accounting

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Following the scandals involving Enron, WorldCom, and Qwest Communications, the accounting profession has spent the past several years trying to get back on track. While Sarbanes-Oxley may improve the decision-making of audit professionals, and help prevent future large-scale catastrophes that hurt stockholders and bring down firms, there is another problem in public accounting that few consider and nobody has proposed to solve: deviant workplace behavior. Previous research describes deviant workplace behavior as the voluntary behavior of organizational members that violates significant organizational norms and, in so doing, threatens the well being of the organization and/or its members. Building from recent work in various business literatures, this is the first research since the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley to examine workplace deviance at Big 4 accounting firms. Taking a cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach, the authors endeavor to explain why workplace deviance has infiltrated accounting firms and how it is undermining their effectiveness and derailing their long-term prospects for success. After describing its genesis and effects, the authors prescribe several managerial strategies for preventing deviance and minimizing its effects on a firm. © 2008 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Business Horizons