Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Larry Crumbly


The under representation of female public accountants in the upper echelons of public accounting organizations is recognized as problematic by both these firms and the accounting profession. The problem is confounded by women's higher turnover rate at each organizational level within these firms. The purpose of this study is to examine women's and men's experiences of the public accounting work environment in order to provide some insight into why women are more likely to leave these firms. The research questions to be addressed are (1) whether, and specifically, how, do males' and females' experiences of the public accounting work environment differ? (2) do differences in these experiences lead to differences in organizational commitment for female and male accountants? and (3) are differences in organizational commitment associated with differential intentions to leave the public accounting organization? A three dimensional model of organizational commitment is used to examine the subjects' affective, economic and moral attachment to the organization. The study focuses on the ways in which these dimensions of commitment differ between female and male accountants as a means of exploring the disparity in turnover rates between the two groups. To this end, the study also examines the relationship between organizational commitment and various organizational and extra-organizational experiences identified as antecedents of organizational commitment. The results of the study suggest that male and female accountants do experience the public accounting work environment differently to some extent. The results also suggest that there is a significant difference in the organizational commitment of male and female accountants. Sex, however, was not a significant predictor of intention to leave the public accounting organization.