The effects of group affiliation and expectation formation on skepticism and confidence : implications for auditing.
Geisler, Charlene S.
Date of Issue2004
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Accounting researchers and regulators have often debated the issue of auditor rotation, and, specifically, the possibilities of auditors becoming too close to their clients. There has been less discussion, however, on the notion that auditors could also compromise their professional skepticism over time because of over-reliance on their own firms’ prior decisions in repeat engagements. The impact of prior judgments on judgment skepticism could depend on whether the prior judgments are associated with an affiliated source and on whether an independent expectation is formed before viewing these prior judgments. Affiliated prior-year judgments could promote an in-group bias that leads current-year auditors to overweight prior judgments made by own-firm auditors and/or to increase their confidence in their own judgments. This in turn may lead to ineffective audits. Using two experiments, this study examines the conditions under and degree to which in-group bias exists and how it affects individuals’ use of information (i.e., the extent of judgment disagreement) and confidence in judgments. Results indicate that group affiliation does affect both extent of judgment agreement and confidence.