Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Accountancy



First Advisor

Kendall Bowlin

Second Advisor

Jeremy Griffin

Third Advisor

Robert Magee

Relational Format



This study examines media influence on auditor relationships with client shareholders. Audit firms are concerned about client loss due to reputational damage. Sensationalized media reports of corporate accounting frauds can be misleading in their description of the auditor’s responsibility for fraud detection. Although audit firms do not control media sensationalism, they can respond to it. I conduct an experiment to examine the impact of media sensationalism and audit firm responses on shareholders’ likelihood to support auditor ratification. I predict and find that high media sensationalism leads shareholders to perceive a higher level of audit firm control over adverse fraud outcomes. In turn, this high perception of audit firm control decreases the shareholders’ support for auditor ratification. I also find that firms who shift the blame to clients are more effective at securing ratification than those who apologize or do not respond. The results are informative to audit firm client retention strategies and research on auditor-shareholder relationships.



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