AN EXAMINATION OF PERSONALITY TRAITS AS

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An Examination of the Influence of Contextual and Individual Variables on Public Accountants’
Job Exhaustion
Daniel W. Law*
Assistant Professor of Accounting
School of Business Administration
Gonzaga University
Spokane, WA 99258
[email protected]
John T. Sweeney
Professor of Accounting
School of Accounting, Information Systems and Business Law
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164
[email protected]
Scott L. Summers
Associate Professor
School of Accounting
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 85602
[email protected]
The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of Bernie Wong-On-Wing, Bill
Stammerjohan, and other participants in the accounting research workshop at Washington State
University.
(*contact author)
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AN EXAMINATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF
CONTEXTUAL AND INDIVIDUAL VARIABLES
ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS’ JOB EXHAUSTION
ABSTRACT: Despite its widespread acceptance and application in the psychology literature,
job exhaustion, a specific type of stress common in professional workplaces, has only recently
been examined in the domain of public accounting. These studies highlighted the problem of
exhaustion within the profession and examined its causes relative to the environment of public
accounting. Another factor, not previously addressed in the context of public accounting, is the
role personality plays on public accountants’ job exhaustion. The current study addressed this
void by examining how the personality traits of hardiness, workaholism, neuroticism, and TypeA behavior in public accountants affected job exhaustion. Our results indicate that public
accountants who were high in hardiness experienced significantly less exhaustion. We did not
find a significant relationship between other personality traits and exhaustion. The role stressor
of overload and conflict were also significant contributors to public accountants’ exhaustion.
Keywords: exhaustion; personality, hardiness, public accounting
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