Date of Award

Fall 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Accountancy

First Advisor

Ted D. Englebrecht


There has been extensive research examining the relationship between the public mission of the accounting profession and the private interests of its professionals. All professions have been offered a special place within society due to the importance of the functions they perform as well as their stated public missions. In exchange, society delegates specific rights to the professions such as exclusivity of practice, self-discipline, and self-selection of their membership. Existing research suggests that the accounting profession's private interests have potentially encroached upon its public mission.

By using the Economic Theory of the Self Regulated Profession, Disclosure Theory, and Signal Theory, testable hypotheses are generated that examine the accounting profession's self-disciplinary function. Specifically, disciplinary actions of the accounting, legal, and medical professions are compared scores of the Defining Issues Test – 2 derived from panel data. Next, Signal Theory is employed to determine if an external mitigate potentially influences the disciplinary actions of the accounting profession. Finally, Disclosure Theory is examined in terms of the number and severity of punishments issued by the legal, medical, and accounting professions.

Results of the study find that that the disciplinary actions of the legal, medical, and accounting professions appear benefit their memberships over public mission. However, tests of Signal Theory report increased levels of disciplinary actions during periods of potential external regulation to the profession.

Finally, tests of Disclosure Theory suggest that increased transparency of disciplinary actions increase their number and severity.

Included in

Accounting Commons