Barriers Towards Learning from Auditor Errors: Is Error Management Culture the Antidote?

Oscar van Mourik, Anna Gold, Therese Grohnert

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


People in all organizations, including audit firms, make errors. Thus, it is important to learn from errors in order to prevent them from being repeated. This paper examines whether and how error consequences, error type, emotions and time pressure serve as barriers toward individual auditors’ learning from errors and whether a more “open” error management climate (EMC) that stimulates learning from all errors mitigates these potential learning barriers. One hundred forty-one Dutch auditors ranked from staff to partner from one Big Four firm and one smaller firm participated in an experiential survey about actual experiences with self-made errors. The main results reveal that smaller (versus larger) error consequences and mechanical (versus conceptual) errors reduce auditor learning from errors, but that, in contrast to the prediction, stronger negative emotions and higher time pressure stimulate learning from errors. Further, an open EMC positively moderates the relationships between error consequences and learning from errors and between time pressure and learning from errors, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages51
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2021
EventAnnual Conference European Accounting Association - Online Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 26 May 202128 May 2021


ConferenceAnnual Conference European Accounting Association

Cite this