Role Stress, the Type A Behavior Pattern, and External Auditor Job Satisfaction and Performance.
This study examines the relationship between elements of role stress and two important external auditor job outcome variables: job satisfaction and performance. The study extends prior research by examining the moderating influence of the Type A behavior pattern on these relationships. The need to re-examine the linkages between the elements of role stress and both job satisfaction and job performance using theoretically based moderators, such as the Type A behavior pattern, has been highlighted in the role-stress literature. Analysis of survey data confirmed that both role conflict and role ambiguity are significantly negatively associated with auditor job performance and job satisfaction. However, the expected moderating role of the Type A behavior pattern on the relationships between the components of role stress and job satisfaction and auditor job performance was not found. Interestingly, however, a direct positive relationship between the Type A behavior pattern and both job outcome variables was appare nt. The latter result suggests that, among audit professionals, Type A individuals tend to outperform and be more satisfied with their employment than Type Bs.
Job-related stress has frequently been associated with the auditing profession (Bamber et al. 1989: Choo 1992, 1986, 1983a, 1983b, 1982; Friedman and Rosenman 1974; Gaertner and Ruhe 1981; Kelly and Margheim 1990; Rebele and Michaels 1990; Senatra 1980; Sorenson and Sorenson 1974; Weick 1983). One source of stress regularly encountered by most individuals in work settings is role stress. Role stress consists of two important constructs, role ambiguity and role conflict (Kahn et al. 1964). Role ambiguity arises in the work environment when an employee lacks adequate information for effective performance of a given role (Senatra 1980). Alternatively, role conflict exists when an employee faces incompatible expectations such that compliance with one expectation would make it difficult or impossible to effectively comply with the other expectations (Kahn et al. 1964).
Rebele and Michaels (1990, 127) suggest that the external auditing profession is particularly exposed to both elements of role stress as a consequence "of (1) its boundary-spanning nature, (2) the potential for conflicting expectations from clients and the firm, and (3) the complexity of modern-day audits and the derivative consequences of poor role performance." Also referring to public accounting firms, Senatra (1980, 594) suggests that:
The potential effects of conflict and ambiguity are costly, not only to the individual in terms of emotional consequences such as high job-related tension and low job satisfaction, but also to the organization in terms of lower quality of performance and higher turnover.
The possibility of role stress being associated with poor performance and job dissatisfaction should be a significant concern to the auditing profession. Lower levels of audit performance can lead to inefficient and ineffective audits which, in turn, unnecessarily expose audit firms to legal liability, loss of revenue, and diminished credibility. The Commission on Auditor's Responsibilities (AICPA 1978) has suggested that any factor having the potential to impair auditor performance warrants further research. Job dissatisfaction has been identified in the auditing literature as one of the most significant influences on the formation of an intention to leave current employment (Bullen and Flamholtz 1985; Kemery et al. 1985; Kemery et al. 1987; Snead and Harrell 1991). Staff turnover within public accounting firms has been and continues to be a significant and costly problem for the accounting profession (Aranya et al. 1982; Bullen and Flamholtz 1985; Collins 1993; Dalton et al. 1997; Rhode et al. 1977; Senatr a 1980; Snead and Harrell 1991; Sorenson and Sorenson 1974). With the exception of Rebele and Michaels (1990), Senatra (1980), and Sorenson and Sorenson (1974), relatively few studies have investigated the direct consequences of role stress in the external audit setting.
This study has two principal objectives. First, the study re-examines the linkages between the two elements of role stress and certain external auditor job outcome variables (job performance and satisfaction). By replicating aspects of previous studies in a non-U.S. context, the study endeavors to widen the generalizability of prior research findings. Second, the study seeks to advance prior research by examining the moderating influence of the Type A behavior pattern on the relationships between these variables. The adverse consequences of role stress have been examined in numerous studies in a variety of work settings.
However, the results of a meta-analysis of this literature has highlighted the need for further role-stress studies that consider the influence of theoretically-based moderators, such as the Type A behavior pattern (TABP), on these relationships (Jackson and Schuler 1985). The prevalence of the TABP among accountants and auditors, and its potentially significant effect on perceptions of job-related stress, has recently been highlighted in the accounting literature (e.g., Choo 1992; Kelly and Margheim 1990). Although the moderating influence of the TABP on the relationship between role stress and job satisfaction has been investigated in two prior studies (Ivancevich et al. 1982; Keenan and McBain 1979), no previous study in the psychology, organization theory, or accounting literatures appears to have investigated the effect of this variable on the role stress/job performance relationship. Empirical support for the existence of an interaction effect involving the TABP would provide a platform for audit firms to investigate the development of targeted individual-focused, stress-intervention plans (Goolsby 1992), and may provide the basis for a reassessment of firm personnel policies.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND HYPOTHESIS DEVELOPMENT
Both role conflict and ambiguity have been linked to negative outcomes in occupational settings, such as increases in perceived job tension, higher job dissatisfaction, greater propensity to leave the firm, and lower performance (Fisher and Gitelson 1983; Jackson and Schuler 1985; Van Sell et al. 1981).
As boundary spanners, auditors are exposed to a significant number of role stressors. Boundary spanners represent people who occupy organizational positions that require extensive "interactions with many people, both inside and outside the organization, with diverse needs and expectations" (Goolsby 1992, 156). People in boundary-spanning roles are exposed to particularly high levels of role stress due to the need to understand and satisfy the expectations of the many role senders  within their relevant environment (Goolsby 1992; Kahn et al. 1964; Van Sell et al. 1981).
Notwithstanding the significance of role stress in the external audit setting, relatively few studies have investigated the potentially adverse consequences of role stress in this environment. The earliest of these studies was undertaken by Sorenson and Sorenson (1974). These researchers found that role conflict had an adverse impact on auditors' job satisfaction and turnover intentions. In this study, role conflict was operationalized in terms of conflict between an auditor's professional and bureaucratic orientations.  Somewhat later, Senatra (1980) found that increased role conflict led to greater job-related tension, while increased role ambiguity led to increased job dissatisfaction. Finally, a study by Rebele and Michaels (1990) confirmed that both role conflict and ambiguity were negatively related to job satisfaction. Like Senatra (1980), the researchers also found role conflict to be positively associated with job-related tension. Rebele and Michaels (1990) were the first researchers to also consi der the consequences of role stress on auditor performance. While they found that role ambiguity adversely affected job performance, no association was found between role conflict and self-rated job performance.
The Type A Behavior Pattern
Identification of the TABP as a new and independent risk factor of coronary heart disease was a product of research conducted in the 1950s and 1960s (Friedman and Rosenman 1959, 1974). This research differed from traditional epidemological studies by considering socioeconomic and psychosocial factors, rather than physiological factors alone (Rosenman 1986). These studies established the TABP as a consistent syndrome of behaviors representing a stress-coping strategy employed by certain susceptible individuals in response to challenging environmental stimuli (Caffrey 1978; Rosenman 1986; Schaubroeck et al. 1994). Excessive role ambiguity and conflict, work overload, superiors who do not encourage competition and/or participation, and poor relationships at work, are all examples of stimuli in the work environment that may elicit behavior consistent with the TABP (Caplan and Jones 1975; Davidson and Cooper 1980; Howard et al. 1977). The behaviors typical of Type A individuals under stress include achievement st riving, competitiveness, time-urgency, hostility, aggressiveness, irritability, and impatience (Glass 1977a, 1977b). People who do not react in this manner to environmental stimuli are known as Type Bs. Further, all individuals are likely to lie on a normally distributed continuum, ranging from extreme Type A behavior through to extreme Type B behavior (Sparacino 1979). In the sense that the overt Type A behaviors only manifest themselves in stressful situations, Type As can be described as "hyperreactive" to environmental stressors.
Although Type As have been found to work longer hours, travel more, and be more confident about their own abilities than Type B individuals in occupational settings (Howard et al. 1977), research does not conclusively support the proposition that Type As will consistently outperform their Type B counterparts (Bluen et al. 1990). A contingency argument has been put forward by several researchers to explain these inconclusive findings (Herried et al. 1985; Matthews 1982). Matthews (1982), for instance, suggests that Type As are likely to outperform Type Bs on difficult tasks requiring endurance, or in situations following a brief yet salient failure. However, Type As may be outperformed by Type Bs when a slow, measured response is required, or after prolonged exposure to a salient failure.
Control theory, developed by Glass (1977a, 1977b), has been described as "the most systematic approach to the understanding of [Type A] behavior" (Kushnir and Melamed 1991, 157). It suggests that Type As are motivated by a strong desire to control their environment. People, events, and/or situations that are perceived to threaten the Type A's sense of control are likely to rouse the Type A behavior characteristic of these individuals. However, in the face of prolonged exposure to a salient and uncontrollable stressor, Type As have been found to demonstrate a propensity to suspend all efforts directed toward regaining control. This, Glass (1977a, 1977b) claims, is an example of learned helplessness (Seligman 1975), or "hyporeactivity" in the face of an uncontrollable stressor.
Role Stress and Job Performance (H1 and H2)
Strong arguments have been presented in the literature in support of a negative relationship between job performance and both role conflict and role ambiguity. For instance, Jackson and Schuler (1985, 42-43) argue as follows:
From a cognitive perspective, performance should be hindered by role ambiguity and role conflict because with them the individual faces either a lack of knowledge about the most effective behaviors to engage in or an almost impossible situation for doing everything expected. Therefore, regardless of the amount of effort expended behaviors are most likely to be inefficient, misdirected, or insufficient.
Further, based on expectancy theory (Vroom 1964), the researchers suggest that:
a motivational perspective would predict that performance should be negatively correlated with role ambiguity and role conflict because they are negatively associated with effort-to-performance and performance-to-reward expectancies. (Jackson and Schuler 1985, 42)
The following hypotheses, stated in alternative form, are proposed concerning the relationships between elements of role stress and performance: 
H1: Perceived role ambiguity is significantly negatively associated with auditor job performance.
H2: Perceived role conflict is significantly negatively associated with auditor job performance.
Role Stress and Job Satisfaction (H3 and H4)
Job satisfaction arises when an individual perceives his or her job as fulfilling values that are considered important to that individual (Locke 1976). Alternatively, job dissatisfaction results when a job, for whatever reason, fails to fulfill job-related values. As role clarity and harmony (the opposites of role ambiguity and role conflict, respectively) are generally valued (Locke and Latham 1990), one would expect them to be associated with job satisfaction when found in the work environment. Conversely, one would expect the existence of perceived role ambiguity and role conflict to be associated with job dissatisfaction (lower job satisfaction).
Consequently, the following hypotheses, stated in alternative form, are proposed concerning the relationships between elements of role stress and job satisfaction:
H3: Perceived role ambiguity is significantly negatively associated with auditor job satisfaction.
H4: Perceived role conflict is significantly negatively associated with auditor job satisfaction.
Type A Behavior Pattern as a Moderating Variable (H5-H8)
According to the role-episode model (Kahn et al. 1964), two individuals holding identical positions and exposed to the same degree of (objective) role stress may each perceive role stress quite differently. The model posits that differences in each person's age, needs, values, education, etc., will lead to different perceptions and responses to role stress.
It will be recalled that Glass's (1977a, 1977b) controllability conceptualization of the Type A behavior pattern suggests that Type As are strongly motivated to maintain control over their environment. Although this may lead to enhanced performance in situations where Type As face moderate levels of stress, prolonged exposure to a salient and uncontrollable stressor is likely to lead to decrements in task performance as Type As exhibit learned helplessness. Lee et al. (1990) confirmed this relationship in a number of diverse occupational settings. The researchers found that perceived control over one's environment significantly and positively interacted with the Type A behavior pattern to facilitate both job performance and job satisfaction. These findings led Lee et al. (1990, 877) to recommend that:
in order to motivate highly competitive, achievement-orientated Type A individuals. organizations and supervisors should consider taking steps to increase their perceived control. Such steps might include reducing role ambiguity and role conflict, participatively setting goals with these individuals, placing them in relatively autonomous jobs, and providing them with tasks in which they have a high degree of control over work scheduling and work methods. (emphasis added)
It seems reasonable, then, to expect that the Type A behavior pattern will intensify the negative relationship between role stress elements and job performance.
A similar intensification of the negative relationship between role stress elements and job satisfaction is also expected for the following reason. Brunson and Matthews (1981) conducted a laboratory study which investigated how the coping strategies of Type As and Bs, respectively, change over a period of time when a salient uncontrollable stressor gradually becomes part of their immediate environment. The researchers found that unlike Type Bs, Type As tended to move away from useful problem-solving strategies (i.e., ones that will eventually lead to problem solutions) toward ineffective strategies (i.e., ones that will never lead to problem solutions). It was also observed that Type As became increasingly annoyed and frustrated throughout the study and that Type As blamed their continued failure on their perceived stupidity and lack of ability. According to the researchers, these factors combined to lead Type As to learned helplessness, i.e., giving up and acting helpless. As problem-focused strategies have been positively associated with job satisfaction (Latack 1986), it would be expected that the Type A behavior pattern will intensify the negative relationship between the uncontrollable stressors (role conflict and role ambiguity) and job satisfaction.
Accordingly, the following hypotheses, stated in alternative form, will be investigated:
H5: Type A personality significantly intensifies the negative relationship between role ambiguity and auditor job performance.
H6: Type A personality significantly intensifies the negative relationship between role conflict and auditor job performance.
H7: Type A personality significantly intensifies the negative relationship between role ambiguity and auditor job satisfaction.
H8: Type A personality significantly intensifies the negative relationship between role conflict and auditor job satisfaction.
Sample and Procedure
Data for the study were collected by way of a survey questionnaire administered to auditors in two of the Big 6 public accounting firms in New Zealand. The anonymity of the two participating firms was guaranteed due to the potentially sensitive nature of the research findings. Consequently, these two firms will be referred to as Firm A and Firm B, respectively.
In total, 169 survey instruments were mailed to auditors in selected offices of the two firms. Of this total, 122 were sent to auditors in Firm A and 47 to auditors in Firm B. Only auditors with at least 12 months' auditing experience were sampled. In all, 123 completed instruments were returned (88 from Firm A and 35 from Firm B), yielding an overall response rate for the study of 73 percent. After four unusable responses (all from Firm A) were removed, the survey procedure resulted in an overall effective response rate of 70 percent. To test for nonresponse bias, a comparison of early and late responses was undertaken (Oppenheim 1966). No significant differences were found on any of the study's variables.
Table 1 summarizes the characteristics of the respondents from the two firms. Of the total sample, 50 percent of auditors were 26 years of age or younger, had been in their current position less than or equal to six months, and had worked for their current firm for 3.4 years or less. The majority of respondents were male (72.3 percent), possessed bachelor's degrees (80.7 percent), were supervisors or below (53.8 percent), and were employed in Firm A (70.6 percent). A combination of Chi-square tests and t-tests revealed no significant differences between any of the demographic characteristics in Table 1 relating to respondents of Firm A and Firm B.
Role conflict and role ambiguity were measured using the instrument developed by Rizzo et al. (1970). This measure consists of 14 items--eight related to role conflict, and six related to role ambiguity. It has been estimated that these scales have been used in 85 percent of all role-stress-related studies (Jackson and Schuler 1985; Van Sell et al. 1981). The psychometric properties of both measures have been closely examined in the literature (House et al. 1983; Schuler et al. 1977; Tracy and Johnson 1981), and the results of such testing indicate that both "have been and are satisfactory measures of two role constructs" (Jackson and Schuler 1985, 17). A similar conclusion is reached in a more recent study by Smith et al. (1993). In the current study, the Cronbach's alpha internal reliability scores for the role conflict and role ambiguity measures were 0.76 and 0.77, respectively (Cronbach 1951).
Overall Job Satisfaction was measured using the 20-item short version of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) (Weiss et al. 1967). This measure has been used extensively in the accounting literature (e.g., Brownell 1982a, 1982b; Chenhall 1986; Chenhall and Brownell 1988; and Frucot and Shearon 1991). The overall measure of job satisfaction is found by summing the scores on each of the 20 individual scale items. Dunham et al. (1977) have provided favorable empirical evidence concerning the MSQ's convergent and discriminant validity. For this study, the MSQ had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.87, which is consistent with other studies in which the MSQ has been used.
No standard measure of auditor job performance has emerged in the literature to date. This study employs a general 12-item measure of auditor performance originally developed by Choo (1986) (hereafter Choo). This self-rated instrument uses a five-point Likert scale with: 1 = unsatisfactory; 2 = improvement required; 3 satisfactory; 4 = good; and 5 outstanding. The scale point descriptors for 2 and 4 were changed slightly from Choo's original version in order to be consistent with performance instruments used internally by Finn A.  In the current study, Choo's measure had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.80. Choo's measure was used in preference to that used by Rebele and Michaels (1990) because the former appears to have been subjected to more rigorous development and testing. Choo's instrument was devised in consultation with five personnel partners, one each from five national accounting firms. Testing of the instrument revealed a strong positive correlation (0.86) between self-rated scores and superior-rated scores. Further, Choo found no significant difference between the mean self-rated performance score and the mean superior-rated score. Choo's instrument may also be more relevant to a New Zealand setting than Rebele and Michaels' (1990) measure, given that it was developed in Australasia, rather than in the United States.
Choo (1986) determined the overall performance rating for self- and superior-rated performance by calculating the simple arithmetic average of the scores on each of the 12 performance dimensions. Several criticisms can be made concerning this approach. First, it assumes that each dimension is of equal importance, and second, it fails to account for the fact that the relative importance of each dimension will differ according to organizational level. To overcome both of these problems in the present study, a weighting system was developed with the assistance of eight partners from Firm A and Firm B (see the Appendix). This system takes into account differences in the importance of each item, both within and across auditor positions. The same weighting system was applied to responses from both audit firms.
Self-rating performance measures have been used in prior research to avoid the problem of "halo-error" associated with superiors' ratings (Brownell 1982a; Nealy and Owen 1970; Thornton 1968). Brownell (1982a, 17) describes "halo-error" as "the tendency to evaluate 'globally' or, in other words, to evaluate on only one cognitive dimension." Nonetheless, self-rating performance measures have, themselves, been criticized because they may lead to leniency bias in responses (Heneman 1974). However, so long as such bias is not systematic with the independent variables, a study's results should be unaffected (Brownell and McInnes 1986).
The TABP was measured using two separate instruments: the Vickers Scale (Vickers 1975) and the Jenkins Activity Survey overall Type A-B measure (JAS) (Jenkins et al. 1979). 
This study employed one of the most frequently used self-report measures of the TABP: the 21-item global Type A-B scale from the Jenkins Activity Survey (Form C). The items making up the Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS) instrument are similar to those included in the Structured Interview (SI). Scoring the JAS involves applying weights, derived from optimal scaling and discriminant-function analysis, to each possible item response. These weights were originally calculated to minimize the classification errors of the JAS relative to those derived using the SI for subjects included in the Western Collaborative Group Study (WCGS). To determine a subject's raw score on the global Type A-B JAS scale, the researcher must first determine the item weight corresponding to each of the subject's item responses and then sum these weights. The raw score is then linearly transformed into a standard score, with a positive score suggesting Type A behavior, and a negative score indicating the absence of Type A behavior (i.e., Ty pe B behavior). The resulting standard score will generally be within the range of -30 to +30 (Jenkins et al. 1979). The standard score for any subject/sample may then be compared with the benchmark scores obtained in the WCGS (the mean score and standard deviation of the entire WCGS population were 0 and 10, respectively).
The validity of the JAS was established by Jenkins et al. (1979) in a number of ways, including confirming the agreement between JAS scores and the SI, and finding significant associations between people classified as Type A by the JAS and coronary heart disease. Matthews (1982) reports that, in general, classifications made by the JAS agree with the SI in about 60 to 70 percent of cases. Although Jenkins et al. (1979) indicate that the JAS scales are reliable, based on internal consistency and extensive test-retest procedures, some researchers have suggested otherwise (e.g., Edwards et al. 1990). For this study, the JAS had an adjusted Cronbach's alpha score of 0.73. 
The other TABP instrument employed in the current study, the Vickers Scale, was originally developed by Sales in 1969. The measure was subsequently refined by Caplan in 1971 and then reduced to a nine-item scale by Vickers (1975). A high score on this measure indicates a predisposition toward Type A behavior, whereas a low score indicates a Type B orientation. Subsequent studies have found this measure to consistently yield internal reliability coefficients in excess of 0.75 (Choo 1986). The Cronbach's alpha score for this measure in this study was 0.82. The scale has been criticized by one researcher who suggests that it does not reflect the entire range of the TABP (Caffrey 1978).
Given the lack of consensus among researchers as to which self-report measure of the TABP is the most appropriate for use in organizational research, it was considered desirable to conduct the analysis separately using two measures of the TABP, and report the results of both.
Table 2 provides descriptive information concerning the variables of interest in the current study. As reported in this table, the mean role conflict and role ambiguity scores were 32.7 and 22.2, respectively.
The JAS instrument has a theoretical range of -30 to +30. The mean standard score of 3.4 for this measure in this study is not statistically different from 0, and therefore indicates that the auditors sampled are, on average, not significantly more orientated toward the Type A behavior pattern (TABP) than were the subjects of the Western Collaborative Group Study. 
Although the mean and median scores for the Vickers measure of the TABP of 44.8 and 46.0, respectively, suggest that the sample auditors are somewhat more Type A oriented than Type B, neither are statistically significantly different from the scale midpoint of 36.
The figures reported in Table 2 also suggest that the sample auditors are, on average, moderately satisfied with general aspects of their jobs, and rate their job performance as being somewhat more than satisfactory.
The Kolmogorov-Smirnov normality test was performed on each variable reported in Table 2. This analysis confirmed that the underlying distribution of each of the study's variables was normal.
Further analysis of the study data indicated that there were some significant differences in mean scores across certain demographic variables. Table 3 presents the mean variable scores across auditor positions, audit firms, and sexes. Pair-wise tests of differences in mean scores revealed that audit partners perceive significantly lower levels of role conflict and role ambiguity, have higher Type A orientations, are more satisfied with their jobs, and rate their own performance higher than do auditors who are farther down in the firm hierarchy. These findings are consistent with a descriptive study by Gaertner and Ruhe (1981). The lower levels of role stress perceived by partners most likely reflects the greater control that they have over sources of role stress in their environment. Unlike Gaertner and Ruhe (1981), however, managers and supervisors did not feel more role conflict than do auditors in other positions. Partners' relatively high Type A scores may indicate that Type As have what it takes to be p romoted to this level, or alternatively, it could reflect their self-selection into such positions. That is, talented Type As self-select themselves into partner positions, whereas equally talented Type Bs may seek alternative employment opportunities because they find the work environment associated with partnership incompatible with their own value sets. Whether Type As do, in fact, self-select themselves in this manner has not been proven in the literature, and therefore provides an opportunity for future research. 
Table 3 also reveals several significant differences in mean scores between audit firms. In particular, auditors in Firm A generally perceived more role ambiguity, were less satisfied, and assessed their own performance as moderately lower than auditors in Firm B. Last, Table 3 indicates two statistically significant differences between the mean variable scores of male and female auditors. Female auditors perceived more role ambiguity and, based on JAS scores, were more Type A oriented than their male counterparts.
Intercorrelations between study variables are provided in Table 4. Both independent variables--role conflict and role ambiguity--are negatively associated with job satisfaction and performance. Further, positive correlations are evident between both measures of the TABP and both dependent variables (job satisfaction and performance). Table 4 also indicates that the JAS TABP measure was significantly positively correlated with the Vickers TABP measure (r = 0.66), indicating, as one would hope, some degree of convergent validity between measures. Last, the significant positive correlation between role conflict and role ambiguity (r = 0.63) is consistent with prior studies (Jackson and Schuler 1985).
Underlying the methods of analysis in this study is the assumption that the relationships between the dependent and independent variables are linear. This assumption was investigated using nonlinear regression analysis. For each combination of dependent and independent variables, quadratic and cubic equations (generated by the curve estimation function in SPSS) were unable to significantly improve the [R.sup.2]s associated with the corresponding linear regression model.
The bivariate relationships specified in H1-H4 were examined using zero-order correlation analysis. Consistent with expectations, both role ambiguity and role conflict were significantly related to auditor job performance and job satisfaction in the predicted directions. As shown in Table 4, role ambiguity was significantly negatively related (at the 0.00 1 level) to both auditor job performance (r = -0.50) and job satisfaction (r = -0.63). Role conflict was also significantly negatively associated (at the 0.001 level) with job performance (r = -0.33) and job satisfaction (r = -0.54). Thus, the relationships specified in the alternative H1-H4 were supported by the sample data.
The following moderated multiple regression models were used to test H5-H8: 
Hypothesis 5: JP = [b.sub.0] + [b.sub.1]RA + [b.sub.2]TABP + [b.sub.3](RA x TABP) + e (1)
Hypothesis 6: JP = [b.sub.0] + [b.sub.1]RC + [b.sub.2]TABP + [b.sub.3](RC x TABP) + e (2)
Hypothesis 7: JS = [b.sub.0] + [b.sub.1]RA + [b.sub.2]TABP + [b.sub.3](RA x TABP) + e (3)
Hypothesis 8: JS = [b.sub.0] + [b.sub.1]RC + [b.sub.2]TABP + [b.sub.3](RC x TABP) + e (4)
JP = job performance;
JS = job satisfaction;
RC = role conflict;
RA = role ambiguity;
TABP = Type A behavior pattern measured either by the Vickers Scale or the Jenkins Activity Survey instrument; and
e = residual term.
To test whether the TABP significantly intensifies the negative relationship between the elements of role stress and the two auditor job outcome variables, the interaction term coefficient ([b.sub.3]) of each of the four interaction models was examined. The existence of a statistically significant negative interaction term coefficient would support the hypothesized moderating effect of the TABP.
As two alternative measures of the TABP were used in the analysis, each of the Models 1-4 was regressed twice, once using the Vickers measure of the TABP and once using the Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS) Type A measure.
Analysis of the basic regression assumptions underlying Models 1-4 indicated that significant multicollinearity existed between the interaction terms (i.e., RC x TABP or RA x TABP) and the remaining independent variables in all four models. Multicollinearity appears to be a relatively common phenomenon in moderated-multiple-regression analyses (Cronbach 1987; Jaccard et al. 1990). In this study, multicollinearity was overcome by "centering"  the study's independent variables, including the components of the interaction term, prior to regression analysis being performed (Cronbach 1987).
Model 1 was used to test H5 and the results of the relevant regressions are shown in Table 5. Model 2, included in Table 6, was used to examine H6, while Model 3, included in Table 7, was used to test H7. Last, Model 4, in Table 8, was used as a basis for evaluating H8.
As reported in Tables 5-8, the F-values associated with Models 1-4 were all significant at the 0.001 level, regardless of whether they were based on the Vickers or JAS measures of the Type A behavior pattern. It is evident from these tables that, irrespective of Type A measure, none of the interaction term coefficients ([b.sub.3]) were significantly different from 0. Consequently, the null hypothesis that the Type A behavior pattern does not moderate the relationships between elements of role stress and external auditor job satisfaction, and performance could not be rejected at the 0.10 level.
Given that several significant differences in mean variable scores were noted in Table 3 across auditor positions and audit firms, in particular, it was considered prudent to investigate whether these variables were playing a confounding role in the analysis. Moderated-multiple-regression analyses were used to examine the interactions between both audit firm and auditor position (partner vs. other) and the other independent variables. Although not reported, the resulting regressions indicated that the previously reported results are insensitive to both auditor position and audit firm.
The results of hypothesis testing suggest that there is no simple bilinear interaction between the elements of role stress and the TABP. However, the method of analysis employed does not rule out the possibility that more complex interactions between these variables may exist. For example, for Type A individuals, a quadratic or cubic function might best describe the relationship between role conflict and job performance (due to the adverse effects of learned helplessness at high levels of role conflict), whereas a linear function may be the best descriptor of this relationship for Type Bs. In the current study, the relationships between role-stress elements and both job outcome variables were investigated for the existence of such interaction effects using the procedure described by Jaccard et al. (1990, 59-61). Regardless of the TABP measure employed, the analysis did not suggest that the shape of the relationship between role-stress elements and job outcome variables depended on the auditors' Type A-B orie ntation (i.e., linear for Type B auditors vs. quadratic or cubic for Type A auditors).
Although all regression models in the study were treated as independent, there was, in fact, a moderately positive correlation (r = 0.49) between the two dependent variables, job satisfaction and job performance. It has been well established in the literature that these variables are related (laffaldano and Muchinsky 1985; Locke 1976), although the causal direction between them is debatable (Ostroff 1992). A recent meta-analytic study estimated that the true correlation between the two variables is 0.17, which is somewhat lower than that reported in this study.
In summary, then, the data obtained in this study, failed to support H5, H6, H7, and H8. Although none of the hypothesised moderating effects of the TABP were found, it is apparent from Models 1-4 in Tables 5-8 that the TABP has a direct and positive effect on auditor job performance and job satisfaction. In all instances, the TABP was significantly positively related to the dependent variable, regardless of the Type A measure employed.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
Analysis of the sample data confirmed the hypotheses that elements of role stress are inversely related to both overall job satisfaction and job performance. Interestingly, the results of studies that have previously investigated the linkages between elements of role stress and job performance have been equivocal (Jackson and Schuler 1985; Van Sell et al. 1981). The only audit-related study to investigate these relationships found a significant negative association between role ambiguity and job performance, but failed to find a significant association between role conflict and job performance (Rebele and Michaels 1990). With respect to the latter relationship, future research could attempt to determine whether the inconsistent results between the current study and those of Rebele and Michaels (1990) are a consequence of differences in geographical location, research model, or measure of auditor job performance.
The hypothesized moderating effect of the TABP on the relationships between the elements of role stress and both job performance and overall job satisfaction was not borne out by the sample data. The possibility that, in general, role stress in the environment of the external auditor does not reach the extreme levels necessary to induce learned helplessness in Type As cannot be completely ruled out. In this study, there was little evidence that auditors, in general, perceived extreme levels of role stress in their work environment. For instance, Table 2 reported that the mean levels (standard deviations) of perceived role conflict and ambiguity were 32.7(7.74) and 22.2(6.06), respectively. These scores indicate that, on average, auditor subjects circled the midpoint or less on each role stress item's seven-point scale. Most studies that have found evidence of learned helplessness among Type A subjects have been conducted in laboratory settings (e.g., Glass 1977a, 1977b; Krantz et al. 1974; and others). It ma y be that the situations in which learned helplessness have been elicited through experimental manipulation are, to some extent, contrived or difficult to replicate in real-world settings. However, two survey-based studies have found that the TABP moderates the relationships between elements of role stress and job satisfaction (Ivancevich et al. 1982; Keenan and McBain 1979). These studies used managers and nurses as subjects. Clearly, future research replicating the current study using samples of auditors from small accounting practices, samples of accountants from other divisions of accounting firms, or even samples of individuals from other occupations, appears warranted.
Also of interest in the current study was the significant and positive association between the TABP and both job outcome variables. Although no formal hypotheses were established to this effect, this result is not completely surprising. As noted earlier, research findings concerning the linkage between the TABP and job performance have been equivocal. This has led some researchers to speculate that Type As outperform Type Bs only in certain situations (Herried et al. 1985; Matthews 1982). Matthews (1982, 301), for instance, suggests that the performance of Type As will be superior to that of Type Bs when "in order to achieve a series of goals as quickly as possible, it is necessary to work rapidly, persist in spite of fatigue or the possibility of failure, and ignore potentially interfering distractions." There are numerous references in the auditing literature that suggest that tight deadlines are a salient feature of the auditor's work environment (Alderman and Deitrick 1982; Kelly and Margheim 1990; Kelly and Seiler 1982; Lightner et al. 1983) and are one of the most important items to affect auditor behavior during an engagement" (Alderman and Deitrick 1982, 58). It may be the case, then, that the inescapable nature of time pressure in the auditor's work setting provides precisely the environment in which one would expect Type As to excel.
Before the implications of the study's findings are drawn, several limitations should be noted. First, the fact that data was obtained from only two Big 6 accounting firms may mean that the results of the study may not generalize to other Big 6 audit firms or to non-Big 6 practices. Second, due to the cross-sectional nature of the study, inferences about causality cannot be validly made. Last, other limitations of survey research, such as the use of self-report measures, common methods bias, fatigue effects due to questionnaire length, and nonresponse bias, may also have affected the current study.
Subject to these limitations, there appear to be a number of significant theoretical and practical implications of this research. First, the negative relationships found in the study between role stress and significant auditor job outcome variables are largely consistent with the findings of several audit studies conducted in the United States (Rebele and Michaels 1990; Senatra 1980; Sorenson and Sorenson 1974). Given that this study was conducted in New Zealand, the generalizability of aspects of prior research can now be extended to the Australasian setting. Second, the failure of the TABP to exert a moderating influence on these relationships in this study suggests that researchers should continue the search for meaningful moderator variables. Third, the results of the study suggest that audit firms may be able to improve auditor performance and overall job satisfaction by taking steps to address role stress in the work environment. For instance, audit firms could adopt strategies that directly target sou rces of role stress in the audit setting (Goolsby 1992), or place and select staff based on their susceptibility to role stress. Further, audit firms could implement individual-focused, stress-intervention programs which aim to develop an auditor's problem-solving and coping abilities (Goolsby 1992). Many studies in the stress literature have highlighted the beneficial consequences of effective coping strategies. An experiment by Choo (1992), for example, demonstrated that the stress-coping strategy, sense of humor, interacts with Type A behavior to significantly attenuate the consequences of job-related stress in accountants. Last, the current study found that the work environment of the external auditor is conducive to higher job performance and overall job satisfaction among Type A auditors relative to Type B auditors. This result does not necessarily mean audit firms should look only to hiring and promoting auditors with strong Type A tendencies. Audit firms need to temper personnel policies that favor Ty pe As with the knowledge that:
(a) Type As are competitive by nature and prefer to "work independently and without close monitoring by others" (Herried et al. 1985, 65). As a consequence, individuals with high Type A orientations may not make the best "team players."
(b) Type Bs are likely to outperform Type As on tasks requiring slow, careful responses, and/or with a broad focus of attention (Matthews 1982).
(c) Type As are more prone to coronary heart disease and gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nonspecific viral illnesses than Type Bs (Caplan et al. 1975; Friedman and Rosenman 1959; Rose et al. 1978; Rosenman 1986).
It would appear, then, that a policy of encouraging and facilitating the development of only Type A auditors would be less than optimal.
Given the multidimensional nature of the Type A behavior pattern, several researchers have started to examine whether it is possible to simultaneously enhance the functional aspects of the behavior pattern, such as achievement striving, and suppress its dysfunctional dimensions, such as impatience and irritability (Spence et al. 1987; Helmreich et al. 1988; Bluen et al. 1990; Barling and Charbonneau 1992). In the words of Wright (1988, 12), "it would be nice if we were able to keep the baby' (drive, ambition) without the 'bath water' (hyperactivation and the resulting [coronary heart disease])." The results of the present study clearly endorse research of this nature.
I would like to thank David Goodwin and Jenny Goodwin for their expert advice and critical comment throughout this study. Thanks are also due to Kevin Moore and seminar participants at the 1996 ADO Research conference. Assistance and support from members of the Commerce Division, Lincoln University, New Zealand, are also gratefully acknowledged. The helpful comments of two anonymous reviewers are also acknowledged. Financial support was provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand and Coopers & Lybrand. The data used in this study are available on request from the author.
(1.) Role senders represent people within the relevant environment of the role incumbent who have developed expectations about the behavioral requirements or limits associated with a particular role. In a work setting, role senders would typically include the incumbent's superiors, co-workers, clients, and subordinates.
(2.) A professional orientation refers to the degree to which an individual associates with and accepts the norms of their profession, while a bureaucratic orientation refers to the extent to which an employee accepts the norms and objectives of the organization within which he or she is employed (Organ and Greene 1981). Conflict may arise in situations where the norms and objectives of an individual's profession are inconsistent with those of the organization within which the professional is employed.
(3.) Following Jackson and Schuler's (1985) recommendation, the consequences of role conflict will be investigated separately from role ambiguity. These researchers suggest that, as the two elements of role stress have been shown to be distinct constructs, separate hypotheses should be stated for each. This view is consistent with the earlier findings of Rizzo et al. (1970).
(4.) The original descriptors for 2 and 5 were needs improvement and superior, respectively.
(5.) The most reliable approach to the measurement of the TABP appears to be the Structured Interview (SI) developed by Friedman and Rosenman (Byrne et al. 1985). Because of the Impracticality of administering the SI on large samples, various attempts have been made to develop self-report measures of the TABP. Although many such measures exist, no one measure has emerged as the universally accepted standard. In fact, there are claims that each of these self-report instruments measure slightly different aspects of the TABP construct (Matthews 1982; Edwards et al. 1990). Evidence of this is reflected by the moderate correlations between these measures (Byrne et al. 1985; Edwards et al. 1990).
(6.) The use of an adjusted Cronbach's alpha formula was recommended by Jenkins et al. (1979) because of the specific weighting method used in determining the JAS scores. The unadjusted Cronbach's alpha score of the JAS in this study was 0.55. A detailed discussion of the adjusted formula is presented in Nunnally (1967. Chapter 7).
(7.) The subjects in the WCGS make up the JAS normative population. The mean standard score of the entire WCGS population is 0, while the standard deviation is 10 (Jenkins et al. 1979).
(8.) Several researchers have suggested the existence of a more general selection-socialization process within public accounting firms (Davidson 1990; Poneman 1992). The process is posited to operate in two ways. Individuals who are "unable to fit into the culture of the firm may voluntarily choose to leave the firm, or firm management may seek to hire and promote only certain types of individuals from the population of eligible personnel" (Poneman 1992, 244). Consequently, one might reasonably expect a relatively high degree of homogeneity among audit partners, in terms of traits, beliefs, and values.
(9.) Both Jackson and Schuler's (1985) meta-analysis and Van Sell et al.'s (1981) extensive review of the role stress literature conclude that role ambiguity and role conflict are separate and distinct constructs. Jackson and Schuler (1985. 45-46) suggest that:
based on the research analyzed in this study, we suggest that the role conflict and role. ambiguity constructs be regarded as separate constructs. Separate hypotheses should be stated for role ambiguity and separate hypotheses should be stated for role conflict. Generally this separation is not made, resulting in an identical treatment for two theoretically distinct constructs.
Similarly, Van Sell et al. (1981, 44)) indicate that the two constructs "are conceptually distinguishable types of role Stress." Consequently, in this study, the interactions between role conflict and the TABP were examined independently of the interactions between role ambiguity and the TABP using separate regression models (Models 1-4). However, given the moderately high correlation (r = 0.63) between role conflict and role ambiguity, it was considered prudent to also run the following two models, which incorporate both role stress constructs:
JS = [b.sub.0] + [b.sub.1]RC + [b.sub.2]RA + [b.sub.3]TABP + [b.sub.4](RC x TABP) + [b.sub.5](RA x TABP) + e (5)
JP = [b.sub.0] + [b.sub.1]RC + [b.sub.2]RA + [b.sub.3]TABP + [b.sub.4](RC x TABP) + [b.sub.5](RA x TABP) + e (6)
Both models revealed no problems with multicollinearity between role conflict and role ambiguity, and produced results consistent with those of Models 1-4. In particular, no statistically significant interaction effects were found between either element of role stress and the TABP.
(10.) "Centering" involves replacing each occurrence of a nondichotomous independent variable in a regression equation with a variable representing its deviation from the mean.
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Characteristics of the Sample (n=119) Characteristic Mean Median Range Age 28.5 26.0 21-54 Position tenure (years) 2.1 0.5 0-25 Firm tenure (years) 6.0 3.4 0-30 Years in auditing 6.4 3.6 1-30 Percent of Total Sample: Sex: Male 72.3 Female 27.7 Education: Bachelor's Degree 80.7 Postgraduate Diploma/Honors 6.7 Master's Degree 3.4 Other 9.2 Position: Partner 13.4 Manager 32.8 Supervisor 15.1 Senior 15.2 Staff 23.5 Firm: A 70.6 B 29.4 Descriptive Statistics Pertaining to the Study Variables [a] Number Possible Actual Variable of Items Mean Range Range Median Role Conflict 8 32.7 8-56 11-50 33.0 Role Ambiguity 6 22.2 6-42 8-38 22.0 TABP [b] (JAS) 21 3.4 -30-30 -16-21 4.5 TABP [b] (Vickers) 9 44.8 9-63 25-62 46.0 Satisfaction 20 91.8 20-140 55-129 91.0 Performance 12 45.1 12-60 31-55 45.2 Standard Variable Deviation Role Conflict 7.74 Role Ambiguity 6.06 TABP [b] (JAS) 8.93 TABP [b] (Vickers) 7.57 Satisfaction 15.11 Performance 4.83 (a.)n = 119. (b.)TABP = Type A behavior pattern. Differences In Variable Means across Auditor Positions, Audit Firms, and Sexes Role Role TABP [+] TABP [+] n[++] Conflict Ambiguity (JAS) (Vickers) Auditor Staff 28 34.4 24.8 4.1 43.4 Senior 18 34.3 23.0 4.4 44.3 Supervisor 18 34.0 23.4 1.7 42.3 Manager 39 33.6 22.8 1.8 45.5 Partner 16 24.0 [a] 14.3 [a] 6.7 [b] 49.1 [C] Audit Firm Firm A 84 33.2 23.0 [**] 3.0 44.0 [**] Firm B 35 31.3 20.3 4.3 46.9 Sex Male 86 32.3 21.4 [**] 2.5 [*] 44.5 Female 33 33.5 24.2 5.7 45.7 Satisfaction Performance Auditor Staff 86.1 43.1 Senior 81.8 44.5 Supervisor 92.5 [e] 44.8 Manager 91.2 [d] 45.3 [g] Partner 113.6 [a] 49.2 [f] Audit Firm Firm A 90.2 [*] 44.4 [**] Firm B 95.6 46.4 Sex Male 93.0 45.0 Female 88.5 45.1
(*.)Significant difference in mean scores between groups (p [less than or equal to] 0.10).
(**.)Significant difference in mean scores between groups (p [less than or equal to] 0.05].
(+.)TABP = Type A behavior pattern.
(++.)n = number of auditors.
(a.)Partners' mean score is significantly different to that of staff accountants, seniors. supervisors, and managers (p [less than or equal to] 0.01).
(b.)Partners' mean score is significantly different to that of managers (p [less than or equal to] 0.10).
(c.)Partners' mean score is significantly different to that of staff accountants, seniors, and managers (p [less than or equal to] 0.10) and supervisors (p [less than or equal to] 0.05).
(d.)Managers' mean score is significantly different to that of staff accountants and seniors (p [less than or equal to] 0.10).
(e.)Supervisors' mean score is significantly different to that of seniors (p [less than or equal to] 0.05).
(f.)Partners' mean score is significantly different to that of supervisors, seniors, and staff accountants (p [less than or equal to] 0.01) and managers (p [less than or equal to] 0.05).
(g.)Managers' mean score is significantly different to that of staff accountants (p [less than or equal to] 0.10)
Pearson Correlation Coefficients between Study Variables [a] Role Role TABP [b] Conflict Ambiguity (JAS) Role Conflict 1.00 Role Ambiguity .63 [***] 1.00 TABP [b] (JAS) -.01 -.08 1.00 TABP [b] (Vickers) -.12 -.24 [**] .66 [***] Satisfaction -.54 [***] -.63 [***] .17 [*] Performance -.33 [***] -.50 [***] .31 [***] TABP [b] (Vickers) Satisfaction Performance Role Conflict Role Ambiguity TABP [b] (JAS) TABP [b] (Vickers) 1.00 Satisfaction .32 [***] 1.00 Performance .45 [***] .49 [***] 1.00
(*.)p [less than or equal to] 0.05 (one-tailed test).
(**.)p [less than or equal to] 0.01 (one-tailed test).
(***.)p [less than or equal to] 0.001 (one-tailed test).
(a.)n = 119.
(b.)TABP = Type A behavior pattern.
Moderated Regression Results of Job Performance Regressed on Role Ambiguity and Type A Behavior Model 1 Model 1 (Vickers) (JAS) Independent Variable [a,b] Coefficient Value Value Intercept [b.sub.0] 45.176 [**] 45.142 [**] RA [b.sub.1] -0.337 [**] -0.378 [**] TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.2] 0.221 [**] RA x TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.3] 0.003 TABP (JAS) [b.sub.2] 0.147 [**] RA x TABP (JAS) [b.sub.3] -0.001 F-value 21.803 [**] 18.029 [**] Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.346 0.302
(*.)p [less than or equal to] 0.01.
(**.)p [less than or equal to] 0.001.
(a.)RA = Role ambiguity, TABP (Vickers) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Vickers measure, TABP (JAS) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Jenkins Activity Survey.
(b.)All variables were centered prior to regression analyses.
Moderated Regression Results of Job Performance Regressed on Role Conflict and Type A Behavior Model 2 Model 2 (Vickers) (JAS) Independent Variable [a,b] Coefficient Value Value Intercept [b.sub.0] 45.160 [**] 45.150 [**] RC [b.sub.1] -0.180 [**] -0.213 [**] TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.2] 0.264 [**] RC x TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.3] 0.002 TABP (JAS) [b.sub.2] 0.160 [**] RC x TABP (JAS) [b.sub.3] 0.005 F-value 14.866 [**] 9.898 [**] Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.261 0.184
(*.)p [less than or equal to] 0.01.
(**.)p [less than or equal to] 0.001.
(a.)RC = Role conflict, TABP (Vickers) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Vickers measure. TABP (JAS) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Jenkins Activity Survey.
(b.)All variables were centered prior to regression analyses.
Moderated Regression Results of Job Satisfaction Regressed on Role Ambiguity and Type A Behavior Model 3 Model 3 (Vickers) (JAS) Independent Variable [a,b] Coefficient Value Value Intercept [b.sub.0] 91.855 [**] 91.754 [**] RA [b.sub.1] -1.466 [*] -1.522 [**] TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.2] 0.363 [**] RA x TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.3] 0.006 TABP (JAS) [b.sub.2] 0.207 [*] RA x TABP (JAS) [b.sub.3] -0.008 F-value 28.130 [**] 26.211 [**] Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.408 0.391
(*.)p [less than or equal to] 0.10.
(**.)p [less than or equal to] 0.001.
(a.)RA = Role ambiguity, TABP (JAS) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Jenkins Activity Survey. TABP (Vickers] = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Vickers measure,
(b.)All variables were centered prior to regression analyses.
Moderated Regression Results of Job Satisfaction Regressed on Role Conflict and Type A Behavior Model 4 Model 4 (Vickers) (JAS) Independent Variable [a,b] Coefficient Value Value Intercept [b.sub.0] 91.844 [**] 91.788 [**] RC [b.sub.1] -1.011 [**] -1.058 [**] TAB (Vickers) [b.sub.2] 0.520 [**] RC x TABP (Vickers) [b.sub.3] 0.009 TABP (JAS) [b.sub.2] 0.270 [*] RC x TABP (JAS) [b.sub.3] 0.003 F-value 21.683 [**] 17.932 [**] Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.345 0.301
(*.)p [less than or equal to] 0.10.
(**.)p [less than or equal to] 0.001.
(a.)RA = Role ambiguity, TABP (Vickers) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Vickers measure, TABP (JAS) = Type A behavior pattern measured by the Jenkins Activity Survey.
(b.)All variables were centered prior to regression analyses.
Percentage Weighting for Each Performance Item across Auditor Positions Position Staff Performance Item Accountant Senior Supervisor Manager 1. Maintaining quantity 9 8 7 7 of work 2. Maintaining quality 14 11 10 9 of work 3. Communicating orally 7 7 7 7 4. Communicating in writing 8 7 8 9 5. Accepting responsibility 7 6 6 7 and initiating action 6. Exercising professional 9 10 9 8 skills and care 7. Following policies and 13 10 8 7 procedures 8. Planning and 4 8 9 10 organizing work 9. Adapting to new or 5 6 6 5 different job situations 10.Getting along with 10 8 8 7 7 others within the firm 11.Dealing with clients 10 10 11 13 outside the firm 12.Supervising others 4 9 11 11 100 100 100 100 Performance Item Partner 1. Maintaining quantity 10 of work 2. Maintaining quality 8 of work 3. Communicating orally 8 4. Communicating in writing 8 5. Accepting responsibility 6 and initiating action 6. Exercising professional 9 skills and care 7. Following policies and 5 procedures 8. Planning and 6 organizing work 9. Adapting to new or 8 different job situations 10.Getting along with 10 others within the firm 11.Dealing with clients 20 outside the firm 12.Supervising others 5 100
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|Author:||Fisher, Richard T.|
|Publication:||Behavioral Research in Accounting|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2001|
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