HCBE Theses and Dissertations
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An Investigation of Management Accountants Intention to Report Fraudulent Accounting Activity: Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior
Date of Award
Dissertation - NSU Access Only
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship
Donald L Ariail
The perpetration of accounting fraud still remains a prevalent and significantly costly issue in today's business world. The names Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth, and Madoff are still all too recent reminders of the devastating cost of financial statement fraud. Management accountants, as preparers of these statements, are in the best position to detect such fraud. Yet there exists no current measurement instrument or methodology designed to measure a management accountant's intention to report fraud. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the beliefs, concepts, and antecedents that provide the motivation to, or the deterrent from, the reporting of fraudulent accounting activity when witnessed by professional management accountants, and develop an instrument that might measure that motivation.
The theoretical basis that framed this research was the Theory of Planned Behavior which provides for an analysis of a participant's attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control in the development of the intention to perform a specific behavior. The population studied was the U.S. membership of the Institute of Management Accountants, and grant assistance and support was provided by the Institute's Research Foundation. The sample from this population formed a very appropriate representation of experienced, professional management accountants.
No previous research involving this population with the application of the Theory of Planned Behavior and the investigation of the reporting of fraudulent accounting activity had been conducted. Therefore, there were no existing survey instruments that could be applied. The development of an original survey questionnaire to specifically address this research was required.
The distribution of this survey questionnaire resulted in 285 complete and usable responses. These responses measured the strength of the participant's positive or negative beliefs concerning the antecedents related to the three exogenous constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior - attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control, and the endogenous construct of intention.
Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) with measured variables was chosen as the methodology for the analysis of the results measured in the survey responses. Confirmatory Factor Analysis was applied to each construct individually, and construct items were modified to obtain the most reasonable model fit, validity, and reliability. Items were combined into composites to represent the constructs of interest in the theory, as measured by the survey. The relations among the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior were then specified using these composites in an SEM model.
The results of the data and the findings of the SEM model indicated that professional management accountants form a strong positive intention to report the witnessing of accounting fraud. The positive beliefs that formed the exogenous variables that showed statistically significant effects on the endogenous variable of the formation of a positive intention to report fraudulent accounting activity were: support of the system of internal control, prevention of financial loss, retention of the integrity and ethical values of the profession, perceived support of significant others, and limited impediment due to fear of retaliation. A surprising result was that 32% of all respondents indicated a lack of easy/any access to an anonymous fraud reporting hotline, which is an issue for further research.
This study provides additional insight into the concepts, beliefs, and antecedents that form a professional management accountant's intention to report fraudulent accounting activity. The study also presents the basis of a preliminary instrument for the measurement of the intention of management accountants to report fraudulent accounting activity. Further research is suggested for the identification of additional concepts, antecedents, and beliefs related to fraud reporting and for the development of an even more effective measurement instrument.
Jerry B. Hays. 2013. An Investigation of Management Accountants Intention to Report Fraudulent Accounting Activity: Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship. (40)