The Theory of Technology Dominance (Arnold & Sutton, 1998) proposes that the continued use of intelligent decision aids in the audit task has the effect of deskilling auditors over time. This research proposal presents a study that extends and validates this theoretical framework through an integrated conceptual model. The research question examined is ‘does the continued use of intelligent decision aids reduce the auditor’s skills in forming their professional judgment?’ No prior research has explored deskilling of auditor judgment. The research is important for practice to ensure a strong audit profession, and contributes to theory through extension of the theoretical foundations of the deskilling effect. The theoretical extension is undertaken through an integration of cognitive load theory (Sweller, 1988), Anderson’s (1993) cognitive architecture of Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational, and the Theory of Technology Dominance (Arnold & Sutton, 1998). The resultant conceptual model is planned for validation through semi-structured interviews with senior auditors. The qualitative data is subjected to thorough textual analysis adopting both the cross-case analytical matrices of Lillis (1999) and the Leximancer textual analysis tool (Smith, 2000). As of April 2011, fifty-nine interviews have been undertaken and transcribed, with the research study planned for finalisation by September 2012.


theory of technology dominance, intelligent decision aids, deskilling, judgment


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Doctoral consortium paper