The effects of alternative justification techniques on judgment accuracy and information communicated in the review process

1999 1999

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

Auditors are often required to justify their judgments to more senior members of their firms. However, the documentation required to justify a judgment can differ. While it is possible that different justification requirements may produce different effects on judgment processes, little is known about the relative effectiveness of different justification techniques. This study uses a control environment assessment task to examine the effects of alternative justification techniques on auditors' (reviewees') judgments, on the information transferred from the reviewee to the reviewer, and on the resulting judgment of the reviewer.

Professional auditors were given a detailed case concerning a client's control environment which was based on an actual audit in which fraud was present. Auditors were assigned to be either a reviewee or reviewer based on their experience level. Reviewees were divided into three justification groups: supporting, balanced, or component. They were asked to make a series of assessments relating to the control environment's ability to prevent fraud, and to justify those assessments using their respective justification requirements. Reviewers were paired with a reviewee and asked to review that individual's work. Reviewers received the reviewee's judgment and justification, along with the information contained in the detailed case, and made the same series of control environment assessments as reviewees. The main variables examined were decision accuracy and the amount and type of evidence documented in the reviewee's justification.

The results indicated that reviewees in the component group documented a larger evidence set in their justifications than did reviewees in the balanced and supporting groups, and that the component justification reviewees were the least accurate in their fraud risk assessments. Reviewer results tended to mirror those of reviewees, though comparisons between component and supporting reviewers were not as strong. One potential explanation for the underperformance of component group subjects concerns the dilution, effect. The substantial amount of evidence documented by component reviewees may have diluted the impact of key information that pointed to possible fraud problems.

These results suggest that, when performing a reasonably complex evaluative task, the way in which reviewees are required to justify their assessments can affect both the accuracy of their assessments and the information they document as part of their justifications. Given that both the reviewee's assessment and justification are later passed on for review, different justification techniques can affect the accuracy of reviewers' assessments. Implications for audit practice and for decision making research are discussed.

Indexing (details)

Cognitive therapy;
Social psychology;
Audit engagements;
0272: Accounting
0633: Cognitive therapy
0451: Social psychology
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Psychology; Information; Judgment accuracy; Justification; Review process
The effects of alternative justification techniques on judgment accuracy and information communicated in the review process
Agoglia, Christopher P.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 60/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780599328556, 059932855X
Kida, Thomas E.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.