ABSTRACT: Previous accounting research on how motivation affects judgment/decision making performance has examined the influence of temporal incentives such as monetary rewards and accountability. We extend this line of research by examining dispositional motivation—the stable individual trait of achievement striving. We first examine whether dispositional motivation affects the extent to which beginning tax professionals acquire tax knowledge over the course of their academic pursuits and first year of professional practice. This aspect of knowledge acquisition has not previously been examined in accounting research. We expect that knowledge differences, in turn, will predict performance in tax issue identification and in tax research. In addition, we hypothesize dispositional motivation will have a direct effect on tax research performance, but not on issue identification. Finally, we hypothesize dispositional motivation will be mediated by task-relevant knowledge in tax research. With one exception, all the hypotheses are met. We conclude by discussing further avenues for research on the role of dispositional motivation in accounting settings.

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