The Multitasking Audit Environment: The Effect of Alternative Modes of Communication on Team Performance

49 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2019 Last revised: 16 Nov 2020

See all articles by Juergen Sidgman

Juergen Sidgman

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Veena L Brown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Joseph F. Brazel

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management - Department of Accounting

Date Written: November 15, 2020

Abstract

Despite the considerable evidence suggesting multitasking reduces performance, multitasking is unavoidable and pervasive in the audit setting. Members of engagement teams are often required to work on multiple engagements simultaneously and their work on one engagement is frequently interrupted due to the demands of another engagement. In hopes of facilitating multitasking, engagement team communications have extended beyond face-to-face interactions to computer mediated communication (CMC) technologies. However, little is known about the performance of multitasking teams under these alternative modes of communication (face-to-face, discussion board, and chatroom). Our study demonstrates that, when multitasking, the performance of audit teams communicating face-to-face is greater than the performance of teams using computer mediated communication (discussion board and chatroom). While we expected enhanced team performance with discussion boards, additional analyses reveal that participants’ familiarity with, and preference for, chatroom features (which are similar to text messaging) may have offset the benefits prior studies have attributed to discussion boards (which are similar to email).

Keywords: audit team performance, chatroom, computer mediated communication, discussion board, face-to-face, multitasking

Suggested Citation

Sidgman, Juergen and Brown, Veena L and Brazel, Joseph F., The Multitasking Audit Environment: The Effect of Alternative Modes of Communication on Team Performance (November 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3310579 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3310579

Juergen Sidgman

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI WI 54901
United States

Veena L Brown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ( email )

Lubar School of Business
3202 N. Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States
414-229-4471 (Phone)
414-229-5999 (Fax)

Joseph F. Brazel (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management - Department of Accounting ( email )

Campus Box 8113
Nelson Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States
919-513-1772 (Phone)

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