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Examination of the actual turnover decisions of female auditors in public accounting: Evidence from Hong Kong


  • Philip Law


Purpose - The inability of public accounting practices to retain female auditors is of concern to the profession. The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors associated with the actual turnover decisions made by female auditors in the public accounting profession. Design/methodology/approach - Multinomial logistic regression is used to analyze survey data from 247 female auditors who were formerly employed by public accounting firms in Hong Kong. About 20 semi-structured interviews are conducted to supplement the findings. Findings - The results reveal that role conflict has the highest explanatory power among the independent variables. Social comparison with peers, stress and age are also influential factors in the turnover decisions made by female auditors in the public accounting field. These results support social comparison theory, which asserts that individuals are driven to evaluate their abilities and opinions through social comparison with others. A particularly interesting finding is that neither physical appearance nor gender discrimination is an influential factor, which contradicts the findings of research carried out in the USA and Japan. Originality/value - According to human capital theory, the departure of female auditors from the public accounting profession represents a significant loss in human capital. Public accounting firms should thus take immediate measures to retain this valuable source of human capital and achieve the goal of a gender-diverse workplace.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Law, 2010. "Examination of the actual turnover decisions of female auditors in public accounting: Evidence from Hong Kong," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(5), pages 484-502, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:majpps:v:25:y:2010:i:5:p:484-502

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richins, Marsha L, 1991. " Social Comparison and the Idealized Images of Advertising," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 71-83, June.
    2. Naoko Komori, 2008. "Towards the feminization of accounting practice: Lessons from the experiences of Japanese women in the accounting profession," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 21(4), pages 507-538, May.
    3. Collins, Karen M. & Killough, Larry N., 1992. "An empirical examination of stress in public accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 535-547, August.
    4. Kathleen Herbohn, 2005. "Job Satisfaction Dimensions in Public Accounting Practice," Accounting Research Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 18(2), pages 63-82, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Edmund J. Boyle & Henry R. Schwarzbach & Elizabeth A. Cooper, 2016. "The importance of emotional intelligence traits for auditors," International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 12(2), pages 151-166.


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