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Title:The influence of intuition and specialization on auditors' attempts to draw on the crowd within
Author(s):Zimbelman, Aaron
Director of Research:Peecher, Mark E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Peecher, Mark E.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hobson, Jessen L.; Trotman, Ken; Benjamin, Aaron S.
Department / Program:Accountancy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):crowd within
decision aid
Abstract:Recent research in psychology suggests that individuals can draw on the crowd within and improve judgment quality by answering the same question twice and averaging the two responses (e.g., Vul and Pashler 2008). I investigate whether those benefits extend to auditors and whether they differ based on how auditors provide their initial judgments and whether auditors are industry specialists. Auditors from seven large national and international firms participate in an experiment in which I manipulate two factors: (1) whether they are specifically prompted to provide a rapid, intuitive initial judgment (prompted vs. unprompted), and (2) whether they are industry specialists in the case area (specialists vs. non-specialists). All participants in my experiment provide a second judgment wherein they are asked to consider reasons why their initial judgment could be wrong. I predict and find a significant interaction between initial judgment prompt and specialization. In particular, compared to auditors’ initial judgments alone, drawing on the crowd within leads to judgments that are more similar to those of an expert panel (i.e., more conforming) for unprompted specialist auditors, while leading to judgments that are less similar to those of an expert panel (i.e., less conforming) for prompted specialist auditors. In contrast, drawing on the crowd within does not lead to significantly different judgments for non-specialist auditors in either the unprompted or prompted conditions. Further, expert panelists rate judgments similar to those made by prompted specialist auditors as being more justifiable, despite those judgments being less conforming. This suggests that these more distant judgments likely provide helpful alternative perspectives. Overall, the results of this study have the potential to improve audit quality both in situations where conformity and diversity of perspective are valued.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Aaron Zimbelman
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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