Fraud Brainstorming Group Composition: The Persuasive Power of a Skeptical Minority

43 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2018 Last revised: 2 Jun 2019

See all articles by Michelle McAllister

Michelle McAllister

Northern Arizona University

Allen D. Blay

Florida State University

Kathryn Kadous

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Date Written: May 1, 2019

Abstract

We experimentally examine the effects of trait professional skepticism on fraud brainstorming performance. We find that groups with a minority, but not a majority, of high trait skeptics assess fraud risk higher than control groups with no high trait skeptics. These effects persist to group members’ individual, post-brainstorming fraud risk assessments, indicating conversion to the minority (skeptical) viewpoint. Mediation analyses indicate that groups with a minority of high trait skeptics assess higher fraud risk in part because they consider more fraud ideas. Groups with a minority of high trait skeptics tend to view the minority high trait skeptic as the best member of the group because of that member’s unique insights. Our study contributes to the brainstorming literature by demonstrating that the mix of trait professional skeptics in the group impacts brainstorming outcomes. It casts doubt on prevailing wisdom that superior audit outcomes require a majority of high trait skeptics.

Keywords: Professional Skepticism, Fraud Brainstorming, Fraud Risk Assessment, Minority Influence

Suggested Citation

McAllister, Michelle and Blay, Allen Dennis and Kadous, Kathryn, Fraud Brainstorming Group Composition: The Persuasive Power of a Skeptical Minority (May 1, 2019). Northeastern U. D’Amore-McKim School of Business Research Paper No. 3105566, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3105566 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3105566

Michelle McAllister (Contact Author)

Northern Arizona University ( email )

101 E McConnell Dr
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
United States

Allen Dennis Blay

Florida State University ( email )

Rovetta Business Bldg. (RBA)
College of Business
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1110
United States
850-727-0953 (Phone)

Kathryn Kadous

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States
404-727-4967 (Phone)

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