Does Distrust Matter More than Trust? How Audit Judgment is Influenced by Inconsistent Evidence
47 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2017 Last revised: 21 Nov 2022
Date Written: November 17, 2022
Prior auditing literature considering the influence of trust on auditor judgment and decision making has largely ignored distrust, viewing it as one end of a unidimensional measure of trust. Psychology literature, however, suggests that trust and distrust are distinct constructs with fundamental differences (e.g., Lewicki, McAllister, and Bies 1998). As such, the current research examines whether trust and distrust mediate the relationship between the receipt of inconsistent evidence from the client and auditor effort, and whether distrust has a greater influence than trust on auditor effort. Results suggest that distrust, rather than trust mediates the aforementioned relationship. Additionally, prior consistent experiences with the client weaken the negative influence that inconsistent evidence has on perceptions of trust and distrust. Further, trust and distrust are quick to repair after receiving inconsistent evidence.
Keywords: Trust, Distrust, Auditor-Client Experiences, Evidence Consistency
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