Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration



Committee Chair

Charles Bailey

Committee Member

Zabihollah Rezaee

Committee Member

John Malloy

Committee Member

David Allen


Performance has received much attention in accounting studies. Accounting academics are interested in explaining and predicting performance at the industry, organization, and individual levels. This three-paper dissertation attempts to explain three aspects of accountants’ job performance and ethical judgment with reference to their personality traits.Past literature show the effect of personality on performance. The first study adds to this line of research by testing the mediating effects of task selection on the performance of accountants as predicted by personality. Specifically I hypothesize task-selection mediates the positive effects of Conscientiousness and the negative effects of Extraversion on performance of staff accountants. As a whole the hypotheses are not supported. However, I find that Extraversion negatively affects task-selection and performance, Conscientiousness positively affects performance, and expressed preferences for technical tasks negatively affect performance. Past literature show the effect of supervisor support, abuse, and feedback on subordinate’s performance. In the second study I hypothesize that Openness and Agreeableness positively affect support, Neuroticism positively affects abuse, and Extraversion and Conscientiousness positively affect feedback. I find that Agreeableness positively affects support, Neuroticism positively affects the supervisor’s abuse and Extraversion and Conscientiousness positively affect feedback. Additionally I find Extraversion and Conscientiousness positively affect support, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness negatively affect abuse, and Agreeableness positively affects feedback. In the third study, I test the effects of two of the Big Five personality traits, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, on the ethical decision-making process of accountants. I posit that accountants high in Conscientiousness will tend to form a commitment to act ethically (confront their superior) despite pressure in an ethical dilemma. I also posit that accountants high in Agreeableness will tend to give in to such pressure. Both Conscientiousness and Agreeableness show the hypothesized effects on intention to act ethically, subject to the elimination of responses from those who express certainty that they would confront the superior. Some complexities of observing the effects of Agreeableness in an experiment are revealed. The results of these studies can benefit accounting firms in hiring and positioning the right accountants for the right jobs. It also adds to our understanding of the ethical decision making process.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.