Do Top Managers’ Individual Characteristics Affect Accounting Manipulation in the Public Sector?

Eugenio Anessi Pessina, Mariafrancesca Sicilia

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

2 Citazioni (Scopus)


Drawing on upper echelons theory, the article investigates the potential impact of top managers’ background and demographic characteristics and personality traits on organizational decisions in the public sector. The top-management figure being investigated is the municipal chief financial officer (CFO) and the specific organizational decision under analysis is the extent of revenue mis- representation during both budget formulation and execution. The empirical setting is provided by the CFOs of Italian municipalities with populations above 15,000 over a 3-year period (2012–14). Financial data are drawn from existing databases. Non-financial data are collected through an on- line survey.The results show that top managers’ individual characteristics and traits do influence the extent of accounting manipulation. In particular, revenue misrepresentation was found to be smaller in the presence of female managers, managers with degrees in business administration, and managers describing themselves as “conscientious”. These effects on accounting manipula- tion were moderated by auditors’ and opposition councilors’ oversight, managers’ experience, and the presence of local elections.The article extends upper echelons theory and its applications in several directions: from the private to the public context, from CEOs to CFOs, from managerial decisions in general to accounting choices, and from background and demographic variables to personality traits.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)465-484
Numero di pagine20
RivistaJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Accounting Manipulation
  • Individual characteristics
  • Public sector


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