Competence trust, goodwill trust and negotiation power in auditor-client relationships

Maresch, Daniela and Aschauer, Ewald and Fink, Matthias (2020) Competence trust, goodwill trust and negotiation power in auditor-client relationships. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 33 (2). pp. 335-355. ISSN 0951-3574

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how competence trust (i.e. trust regarding the ability of the counterpart) and goodwill trust (i.e. trust regarding the benevolence and integrity of the counterpart) affect the probability that the auditor or the client stand up to the respective negotiation partner’s position in situations of disagreement in the auditing relationship. Design/methodology/approach: Two experiments were conducted, one with 149 auditors and one with 116 chief financial officers (CFOs). Both auditors and CFOs had to indicate the likelihood that they stand up to the other party’s preferred position in a disagreement on the materiality of unrecorded liabilities. The data derived from these experiments were analyzed using hierarchical OLS. Findings: The results indicate that both auditors and CFOs who take their respective negotiation partner in the audit for highly competent are less likely to stand up to them in situations of disagreement. Interestingly, goodwill trust appears to be irrelevant for the negotiation outcome. Practical implications: The findings are highly relevant for regulators, because they inform about the crucial importance of competence trust for the auditing negotiation outcome and thus put the so-called “trust-threat” into perspective. Originality/value: The study adds to the literature on the role of the context for auditor-client negotiations by exploring the role of two distinct forms of trust on the outcome of these negotiations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: trust, auditor-client relationship, negotiation
Faculty: Faculty of Business & Law
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2019 15:10
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:53

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