Fraud Brainstorming Group Composition: The Persuasive Power of a Skeptical Minority
43 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2018 Last revised: 2 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 1, 2019
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: Suggested Citation