Predecisional Distortion of Evidence as a Consequence of Real-Time Audit Review
Posted: 30 Jul 2001
With the current shift toward real-time audit review, subordinates become aware of supervisors' views earlier in the audit process. I use an experiment to examine whether earlier knowledge of supervisors' views increases subordinates' tendencies to agree with those views because subordinates predecisionally distort evidence. In a going-concern task, I find that auditors who learn the partner's view before evaluating evidence: (1) evaluate individual evidence items as more consistent with the partner's view, and (2) make going-concern judgments that are more consistent with the partner's view than do auditors who learn the same partner's view after evaluating evidence. In a second experiment, I examine whether auditors anticipate distortion's effect on subordinates' judgments. I find that auditors expect subordinates to make judgments that agree with supervisors' views, but auditors do not expect subordinates to agree even more with those views when subordinates learn those views earlier in the audit process.
Keywords: Predecisional distortion; Accountability; Motivated reasoning; Audit-review process
JEL Classification: D80, M49
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