The Behavior of Assurance ProfessionalsA Cross-Cultural Perspective Olof P.G. Bik


The complexity of human behavior challenges our explanatory powers. Yet, in this day and age we desperately try to manage and control the behavior of our corporate citizens through rules, codes, systems and procedures alike. This study is an illustration that true human behavior cannot simply be controlled by (more of) such rules. Instead, it is driven by many psychological, cultural, contextual, and environmental factors.

The focus of this study is the influence of cross-national cultural differences in the context of the professional behavior of auditors, based on the central question: Is auditors’ professional behavior affected by crossnational cultural differences, and, if so, how? Being based on grounded theory, in part validated within an international accounting organization, this study is the first to provide a more profound, in-depth, and contextualized analysis and understanding of the effect of cross-national cultural differences on the behavior of professionals in general, and that of auditors in particular.

This study illustrates that behavioral drivers, such as one’s cultural programming, determine professional behavior and lead to differences in the interpretation and application of rules and standards. On a broader level this study is also a call for better recognition of behavioral drivers in the work of professionals and gatekeepers.

Olof Bik has been active in the international assurance practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers for over 15 years and has been associated with the University of Groningen, Faculty of Economics & Business Administration, since 2003. He focuses his professional and academic activities on Behavioral & Cultural Governance.








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