How Do Auditors Weight Informal Contrary Advice? The Joint Influence of Advisor Social Bond and Advice Justifiability

Kadous, Kathryn; Leiby, Justin; Peecher, Mark E.
November 2013
Accounting Review;Nov2013, Vol. 88 Issue 6, p2061
Academic Journal
Auditors frequently seek informal advice from peers to improve judgment quality, but the conditions under which advice improves auditor judgment are poorly understood. We predict and find evidence of a trust heuristic among auditors receiving advice from advisors with whom they share a social bond. This heuristic is evident among non-specialists, who weight advice according to its justifiability when it is received from a weaker social bond advisor, but fail to objectively assess the quality of advice received and weight it heavily when it comes from a stronger social bond advisor, regardless of its justifiability. Specialists, while less prone to the trust heuristic in advice weighting, show inconsistencies in advice weighting and their assessments of advice quality. In particular, specialists discount better justified advice from stronger social bond advisors, despite rating this advice as being of relatively high quality. This defensiveness likely arises from an aversive social comparison process attributable to the high egorelevance of a task within one's specialization. Future research is warranted to corroborate or refute this possibility.


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