Social Skills Differences Among CPA Firm Personnel of Different Cultures: An Exploratory Study Using FIRO-B

International Journal of Applied Management (ISSN: 1742-2590) Volume 2 Issue 3

Mohamed E. Bayou
Professor of Accounting
School of Management
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Philip Siegel
Professor of Accounting
College of Charleston

James Smith
Department of Management
College of Business
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington


This study examines the social interaction preferences of international accounting personnel and compares these preferences to those of national (U.S) firm personnel. Understanding the differences between preferences for social interaction is important because such information sheds light on the types of personnel who are more likely to succeed in the different work environments.

Thompson and Schutz’s (2000) FIRO-B instrument was used to collect social interaction preference data from international accounting firm personnel. The goal is to better understand the interrelationship between preferences for social interaction and work environments. The tasks undertaken in accounting firms require a set of social skills which may vary across cultures.

The findings showed that CPA firms’ employees with North-American heritage and those with non-American heritage significantly differ in their wanted inclusion, control and affection. The findings may explain that these differences are due to the emphasis on individualism in the west versus the dominance of the family, the tribe and the state in some Asian and African cultures that shape one’s preferences for social interactions. These findings have important implications for the strategic assignments of individuals from different cultures to the appropriate functions in the CPA firms, the role of the employees in participating in team projects and for helping educators to advise their students to pursue employment positions commensurate with their social skills.

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