This dissertation is comprised of three experimental studies that examine corporate tax aggressiveness through an investigation of judgment and decision making in the corporate tax environment. Studies 1 and 2 examine individual judgment involved in decision making (i.e., assessments of tax positions based upon tax scenario facts and tax authority). Study 1 examines how advice from external tax advisors and a tax advisor's association with the company's audit firm influences the aggressiveness of experienced in-house corporate tax decision makers. Study 2 examines how situational factors in the corporate tax environment interact with individual traits to affect individual-level tax aggressiveness, focusing in greater depth upon the process of individual judgment and decision making. Study 3 extends the investigation of situational factors from individual-level decision making to a group-level analysis, examining individual-level and group-level decision making in a tax setting (i.e., tax compliance decisions). Overall, results reflect the complexity of the corporate tax environment. The effects of the situational factors examined in the dissertation generally influence decision makers' own perceptions. For example, Study 1 results suggest that tax advisor identity influences how corporate tax directors weight advice only if the advice is conservative and if the tax directors agree with the advice. Additionally, in Studies 2 and 3, decision maker perceptions are found to mediate the effects of manipulated situational factors. In Study 2, regulatory focus state indirectly influences individual tax aggressiveness through the perception of the tax advisor's level of client advocacy. In Study 3 decision maker type, a situational factor, affects tax compliance decision riskiness indirectly through feelings of responsibility for the possible outcomes of the decision. Collectively these studies contribute to the nascent literature on decision making in a corporate tax environment, helping to lay the groundwork for future studies in this area.


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Graduation Date





Arnold, Vicky


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration

Degree Program

Business Administration; Accounting









Release Date

August 2016

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2016; it will then be open access.