ABSTRACT

This study investigates factors that influence audit interns' commitment and long-term intentions to work in public accounting. We measure the organizational and professional commitment of 127 audit interns prior to the start of busy-season internships with public accounting firms and then again at the conclusion of the internship. We find that both organizational and professional commitment decline significantly as a result of the internship experience. We note that heavy workloads during the internship decreased the degree of commitment to a particular firm. On the other hand, offering challenging work assignments and surrounding the intern with desirable coworkers significantly increased commitment to both the firm and the profession. We also find that changes in organizational commitment are related to changes in interns' long-term intentions to work in public accounting, and that by the end of the internship, nearly 60 percent of the interns changed their views with regard to how long they planned to work in public accounting, with a majority of respondents anticipating a shorter career in the profession.

JEL Classifications: M42.

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