Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Ruth W. Epps

Second Advisor

Dr. Carolyn Strand Norman


This study examines the impact of knowledge, experience, goal orientation, ethical orientation, and personality traits on managers' and accountants' abilities to recognize misappropriation of assets. Participants included students and professionals. The student group included upper-level accounting majors and upper-level management majors. The professional group included students enrolled in an introductory accounting course for their MBA program and internal auditors from a variety of organizations. Findings in the study show that accounting students assessed the possibility that fraud was in progress at a higher level than the management students, suggesting that the accounting students acquire basic knowledge about fraud from the accounting curriculum, which improves performance. The effect of reading articles was marginally significant for assessing the possibility of fraud, showing that students who have read or who are required to read articles better identify the clues associated with employee theft. For the professional group, the effects of academic major and fraud specific training led to identifying the possibility of employee theft at a higher level. It appears that training sessions help professionals in identifying the risk factors associated with fraudulent activity, producing benefits to organizations that far outweigh the costs. Full-time work experience was marginally significant (p Several findings of the additional analysis using structural equation modeling extend the audit decision making literature by showing certain factors that enhance knowledge and improve decision making as experience increases. Higher learning goal orientation scores, mediated by experience and ethical position, should lead to more accurate identification of risk factors that are commonly associated with fraudulent activity. These findings should encourage firms to draw upon the knowledge of experts as they develop expert decision aids and training sessions for internal audit departments. Organizations should also integrate actual instances of misappropriation of assets into training sessions on fraud prevention and detection while developing and improving models of training sessions and expert decision aids for unstructured, complex tasks.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Accounting Commons