Nominal versus Interacting Electronic Fraud Brainstorming in Hierarchical Audit Teams
Posted: 10 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 4, 2014
In this study, we examine whether interacting hierarchical teams outperform nominal hierarchical teams in electronic brainstorming. Our hierarchical audit teams were composed of 111 managers and seniors from two Big 4 accounting firms. We compare fraud brainstorming outcomes between nominal and interacting teams for two tasks of varying complexity: a simpler task of fraud risk factor identification and a more complex task of fraud hypothesis generation. We find that nominal teams generate a significantly larger number of unique fraud risk factors and fraud hypotheses than interacting teams. Nominal teams also generate higher quality fraud hypotheses. We provide evidence that social loafing by less experienced auditors in interacting teams drives the differences between nominal and interacting teams in the fraud hypothesis generation task. In addition, less experienced auditors have less developed mental simulations for frauds in interacting teams compared to those in nominal teams. A key contribution of our study is that it identifies the underlying mechanisms of the differential fraud brainstorming outcomes between nominal and interacting teams.
Keywords: fraud brainstorming, nominal versus interacting teams, mental simulation, social loafing
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