Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Accounting

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Clients disclose voluntary information on social networking sites, such as Twitter, and auditors follow their clients, yet little is known as to if these new disclosure channels influence auditors’ judgment during audits. While Twitter provides a client the opportunity for self-disclosure to many people at one time, an auditor can initially receive the information in the client’s tweet in a public setting instead of a private, one-on-one (client-to-auditor) setting. I investigate how a client’s self-disclosure on Twitter interferes with the auditor-client communication of a private self-disclosure expectation and how the audience engagement of that tweet (e.g., “likes,” “comments,” and “retweets”) could amplify the auditor’s reaction to the information. Drawing on the Social Penetration Theory, I conduct an experiment using a 2 x 2 between-participants design to examine how the type of communication channel in which the auditor initially receives a client’s self-disclosure (private versus public) and the level of the audience engagement on the client’s tweet (low versus high) influences the auditor’s likelihood to agree with the client’s preference when evaluating a material audit issue.

I predict and find that when the client’s tweet receives high audience engagement and an auditor initially receives a client’s self-disclosure of company information publicly on Twitter rather than privately through email communication with the auditor, the auditor’s likelihood to agree with the client’s preference when evaluating a material audit issue decreases. Furthermore, results show that when viewing a client’s tweet that receives high audience engagement about company information initially received by the auditor publicly on Twitter rather than privately through email, the auditor’s perception of relational closeness with the client erodes, causing the auditor to be less accepting of the client’s preference when evaluating a material audit issue. Thus, the findings of this study suggest that a client’s public disclosure can lead to social de-penetration of the auditor-client relationship, which influences auditor judgment.

Committee Chair

Aghazadeh, Sanaz

Available for download on Monday, July 10, 2028

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