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
Date Written: November 15, 2020
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
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