Role expectations and agency in the audit tendering process

Y.T.A. Taminiau, H.S. Heusinkveld

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose – Tenders are generally considered an important in auditing research and practice, and are associated with significant difficulties for the auditing profession, as well as for individual auditors in the context of client relationships. The paper aims to explore the way auditors respond to complex client expectations related to the audit tendering process.
Design/methodology/approach – Using a role-theory perspective we analyzed 75 client evaluations of auditors, along with in-depth interviews with high-level auditors.
Findings – We present a theoretical framework of audit tenders that identifies different formal and informal practices auditors may employ in response to evolving client expectations that arise throughout different phases of the tendering process, and elucidate relevant conditions that may enable or impede these practices.
Research limitations/implications – First, our study reveals that, in the context of auditor-client relationships, expectations cannot be considered stable, but may vary significantly throughout the tendering process. Second, our study indicates that auditors are not only determined by the formal tendering procedures, but are also influenced by their level of agency.
Practical implications – The framework has practical value by providing individual auditors guidance in managing their client relationships and, further, top management guidance for creating favorable conditions for auditors to meet client needs.
Originality/value – Our findings provide a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the autonomy auditors have in responding to the contemporary pressures exerted on them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1820-1842
Number of pages23
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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