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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|944||2012||23 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 334–356
Current auditing standards require auditors to conduct a fraud brainstorming session aimed at considering ways in which the audit client's financial statements might be fraudulently misstated. Lynch et al. (2009) document that computer-mediated fraud brainstorming is significantly more effective than face-to-face brainstorming for generating relevant fraud risks. In this study, we code and analyze process-level data from the Lynch et al. (2009) study to understand the factors contributing to the greater effectiveness of electronic fraud brainstorming. Specifically, we conduct mediation analysis to discern the degree to which equality of participation and two measures of task focus contribute to greater fraud brainstorming effectiveness when using a computer-mediated communication system compared to traditional face-to-face brainstorming. We also examine participants' perceptions of ease of system use, satisfaction with the process, and satisfaction with the outcome. Overall, the results indicate that the primary reason for the greater effectiveness of electronic fraud brainstorming is the greater degree of task focus as revealed through the length of comments made when using computer-mediated fraud brainstorming. In an absolute sense, participants using electronic brainstorming felt that their brainstorming mode was easy to use and they were satisfied with the process and outcome. The primary contribution of this study is in enhancing our understanding of precisely why computer-mediated fraud brainstorming outperforms face-to-face fraud brainstorming.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) have recognized the importance of fraud brainstorming during the planning of independent financial statement audits. Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 99, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, contains a presumptively mandatory requirement that auditors engage in fraud brainstorming session(s) during audit planning where they interact to exchange ideas on the ways in which the audit client could engage in fraudulent financial reporting or the misappropriation of assets (AICPA 2002). SAS No. 99 does not mandate any particular mode of brainstorming and, as Brazel et al. (2010) have documented, the most common mode employed by accounting firms is face-to-face brainstorming. Hunton and Gold (2010) conduct a field experiment comparing three face-to-face brainstorming techniques and find that unstructured open discussion, the technique employed by most firms, is also the least effective. In a laboratory experiment aimed at comparing face-to-face brainstorming with computer-mediated brainstorming, Lynch et al. (2009) find that computer-mediated fraud brainstorming is significantly more effective than face-to-face fraud brainstorming. Actual patterns of participation, however, were not analyzed at the process level in the Lynch et al. (2009) investigation to help explain why computer-mediated fraud brainstorming outperforms face-to-face brainstorming. In the Lynch et al. (2009) study, two factors were manipulated: communication mode and content facilitation, with the results revealing significant main effects on brainstorming effectiveness for both communication mode and content facilitation. In the current study, we transcribe and code data from the 84 participants in the Lynch et al. (2009) study engaged in unfacilitated electronic interactive, electronic nominal, and face-to-face fraud brainstorming.3 Specifically, we compare the relative degree of equality of participation and measures of task focus between participants engaged in face-to-face and electronic brainstorming with the objective of explaining why computer-mediated fraud brainstorming is more effective than face-to-face brainstorming. The two main causes for performance differences between computer-mediated and face-to-face fraud brainstorming are (1) the simultaneous input of comments in the computer-mediated environment, which mitigates production blocking and could foster more equal participation ( Nijstad et al., 2003a and Nijstad et al., 2003b), and (2) the decreased social presence in the computer-mediated environment, which could foster a higher degree of task focus per social presence theory and information richness theory ( Short et al., 1976 and Daft and Lengel, 1986). It is important to understand which of these two causes is more responsible for the superiority of electronic fraud brainstorming because if the sole cause of the superiority of electronic fraud brainstorming is more equal participation then practices such as the round-robin technique that fosters more equal participation could be employed to boost productivity in face-to-face brainstorming sessions. Alternatively, if the enhanced task focus in the electronic environment is primarily responsible for the superior performance, given that it is difficult to replicate greater task focus in a face-to-face setting the results would imply that an electronic system should be used to realize the productivity gains. Employing mediation analysis, we investigate the relationships between communication mode, various measures of process-level differences between face-to-face and electronic brainstorming, and fraud brainstorming effectiveness. We also compare individual participants' perceptions about ease of system use and their satisfaction with the brainstorming process and outcomes, which are factors associated with the likelihood that individuals will continue using systems (Hiltz and Johnson, 1990 and Wixom and Todd, 2005). If participants view an electronic fraud brainstorming system as being difficult to use, or if they are dissatisfied with the process and outcome from using the system, then the utility of such a system would be diminished despite its superior effectiveness. Given that Lynch et al. (2009) have demonstrated the superior effectiveness of electronic brainstorming systems relative to traditional face-to-face brainstorming, it is important to ensure that ease of system use and satisfaction are not impediments to the implementation of electronic fraud brainstorming systems in practice. Results reveal that equality of participation is not significantly different between the electronic brainstorming conditions and the face-to-face brainstorming condition. Regarding task focus, however, we find that participants brainstorming electronically exhibit a significantly greater degree of task focus than participants brainstorming face-to-face. Participants brainstorming electronically make fewer procedurally oriented task comments than participants brainstorming face-to-face. Mediation analysis indicates, however, that this difference is not a major contributor to the superior performance of electronic brainstorming. We also find that participants brainstorming electronically make lengthier comments than participants brainstorming face-to-face, and the mediation analysis reveals that this difference is a major contributor to the superiority of electronic fraud brainstorming. Regarding ease of use and satisfaction, our findings reveal that in an absolute sense participants in all brainstorming conditions (i.e., electronic and face-to-face) find their brainstorming method easy to use and they are satisfied with the brainstorming process and outcome. These findings indicate that ease of system use and satisfaction with the process and outcomes are unlikely to be significant impediments to the adoption of computer-mediated fraud brainstorming systems by auditing practitioners. This study contributes to the IS and auditing literature by providing insights into the process-level reasons for the enhanced effectiveness of electronic fraud brainstorming systems when compared to the traditional face-to-face brainstorming systems. We empirically demonstrate that when compared to face-to-face brainstorming, an electronic fraud brainstorming system facilitates enhanced task focus by inhibiting excessive procedural commentary, fostering more in-depth comments, and reducing the number of irrelevant off-task comments. Of these factors, mediation analysis reveals that the major contributor to superior fraud brainstorming performance is the propensity for participants using computer-mediated communication to compose and submit longer comments. This study contributes to social presence theory by demonstrating empirically that the diminished social presence in the electronic communication environment enhances task focus and thereby results in the greater effectiveness of computer-mediated fraud brainstorming over face-to-face fraud brainstorming. Our research findings should encourage members of the auditing profession to adopt electronic fraud brainstorming systems. In Section II, we discuss the theory literature relating to our study and present our hypotheses and research questions. Next, in Section III, we outline the research method. In Section IV, we present the results; and in the final section, we discuss the findings and implications for practice and future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Evidence regarding the superior effectiveness of electronic fraud brainstorming relative to face-to-face fraud brainstorming was reported by Lynch et al. (2009). In this study, we analyze process-level data from the Lynch et al. (2009) experiment to investigate why computer-mediated fraud brainstorming is more effective. Employing mediation analysis, we investigate the extent to which equality of participation and two measures of task focus mediate the relationship between brainstorming mode and fraud brainstorming productivity. We also elicit participants' perceptions regarding ease of system use and satisfaction with the process and outcome to determine if there are any impediments to the adoption of electronic fraud brainstorming systems by auditing practitioners. The mediation analysis results provide no evidence that greater equality of participation in a computer-mediated brainstorming session relative to traditional face-to-face brainstorming is the reason for the superiority of electronic fraud brainstorming. Rather, our findings indicate that the main contributor to the greater fraud brainstorming effectiveness of computer-mediated teams relative to face-to-face teams is the significantly higher degree of task focus. Evidence of higher task focus in the computer-mediated communication environment emerged through our measures of procedural commentary, length of comments, and the number of off-task comments. While the extent of procedural commentary partially mediated the relationship between communication mode and fraud brainstorming effectiveness, the length of comments fully mediated this relationship. Collectively, these measures paint a picture of a significantly greater degree of task focus in the computer-mediated environment relative to the traditional face-to-face environment, and this is the primary answer to the question of why computer-mediated communication improves fraud brainstorming effectiveness. Put simply, audit teams communicating electronically were more focused on the main reason for their meeting, that is, to generate relevant fraud risks regarding how the financial statements of the audit client might be materially misstated due to fraud. Our findings can be interpreted from the perspectives of social presence theory (Short et al., 1976) and information richness theory (Daft and Lengel, 1986). Specifically, the depersonalized environment of a computer-mediated meeting (i.e., low social presence, lean media) appears to be beneficial for the fraud brainstorming task, where the goal is to generate as many relevant fraud risks as possible. Another key difference between a face-to-face and a computer-mediated fraud brainstorming session is the potential presence of the “group memory” which is the real-time log of all comments. Participants in our interactive electronic condition had real-time access to such a log, while participants in the nominal electronic condition did not have real-time access. Given that we find few significant differences between the interactive electronic and nominal electronic conditions, it appears that the group memory feature of an electronic fraud brainstorming system is not a significant driver of enhanced effectiveness over face-to-face brainstorming, at least in the context of the fraud brainstorming task. We believe this finding contributes to the IS literature on face-to-face versus electronic brainstorming. The results have implications for practice, where face-to-face meetings represent the predominant mode of conducting the fraud brainstorming session (Carpenter, 2007, Brazel et al., 2010 and Hunton and Gold, 2010). As suggested by Beasley and Jenkins (2003), interventions such as the round-robin technique could be employed to foster more equal participation in a face-to-face brainstorming setting. Our findings suggest, however, that more equal participation by itself is unlikely to result in an improvement in fraud brainstorming effectiveness. Our study reveals that enhanced brainstorming effectiveness is more closely related to superior task focus. Compared to face-to-face brainstorming, the use of an electronic fraud brainstorming system induces much greater task focus resulting in significantly greater fraud brainstorming effectiveness. Furthermore, as noted earlier, one risk with a face-to-face fraud brainstorming session is that the scribe may fail to capture all fraud risks mentioned by participants. The advantage of an electronic brainstorming system is that the automatic logging feature captures every fraud risk input by team members. Taken together, these results provide strong support for the use of an electronic fraud brainstorming system. Regarding ease of system use and satisfaction, the results indicate that in an absolute sense, participants in all three communication modes felt that their mode of brainstorming was easy to use and they were satisfied with the brainstorming process and outcome (Table 4). In light of the documented superior brainstorming effectiveness of computer-mediated communication (Lynch et al., 2009), these results on ease of use and satisfaction with the process and outcome indicate that these issues should not present any significant behavioral impediments to implementing such systems. Given that the electronic brainstorming system employed a relatively rudimentary “chat” style feature common to many systems in use today, we believe that our findings regarding ease of use should extend to most conventional electronic brainstorming systems that accounting firms might consider deploying. It should also be noted that repeated use of a computer-mediated system for fraud brainstorming is likely to enhance participants' perceptions of satisfaction with performance, as documented by Chidambaram (1996). The results of this study should be interpreted after considering certain limitations common to laboratory experiments. For example, in this study, we used auditing students as surrogates for practicing auditors. This limitation should not detract from the inferences that can be drawn from the study for the reasons indicated earlier. Future research could replicate our study with auditing practitioners to further validate the generalizability of our findings. A second possible limitation is that the experiment employed a case that had a number of fraud risks seeded in it, but we know of no reason a priori to expect patterns of brainstorming participation to differ if a case with few (or no) fraud risks is used. The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of why electronic fraud brainstorming is more effective than face-to-face brainstorming, as reported by Lynch et al. (2009), but there are many unanswered questions and seemingly contradictory findings in the existing literature. For example, Cockrell and Stone (2011) find that face-to-face teams identified more and higher quality fraud risk factors than teams using an electronic chat room during the fraud brainstorming process. This finding emanated from a study that investigated how media richness and anonymity affected team interactions and fraud brainstorming effectiveness. Cockrell and Stone (2011) find that face-to-face teams, when compared with teams using an electronic chat room, produce more discourse, have higher discourse complexity, and have higher discourse descriptiveness. The apparent contradiction with the Lynch et al. (2009) finding of the superiority of electronic fraud brainstorming could be explained by the many salient differences in the research designs employed by the two studies. For example, there are significant differences in the length and complexity of the case that was used in the experiments, with Cockrell and Stone (2011) employing a shorter case seeded with salacious issues (drug use, sexual misconduct) that may have evoked a more lively discussion in a face-to-face setting. Cockrell and Stone (2011) utilize three person audit teams (1 manager, 2 staff auditors) while Lynch et al. (2009) utilize four person teams (1 partner, 1 manager, 1 senior, and 1 staff auditor), which is an important difference in light of prior research findings that the benefits of electronic brainstorming are more pronounced for larger teams than for smaller teams (Gallupe et al., 1992, Valacich et al., 1994 and Leenders et al., 2003). Additionally, in the Cockrell and Stone (2011) experiment participants receive different information about the case based on their assigned role (i.e., manager vs. staff auditor) while in the Lynch et al. (2009) study all participants receive the same information about the case. Finally, there were significant differences in the amount of time participants brainstormed (up to 15 min in the Cockrell and Stone (2011) study and 40 min in the Lynch et al. (2009) investigation). While existing research into fraud brainstorming effectiveness has provided valuable insights, there are obviously many unanswered questions. Future research into the relative effectiveness of electronic brainstorming and the underlying reasons for that effectiveness is justified. Future research could also investigate whether there are currently unidentified reasons as to why audit practice has not wholeheartedly embraced electronic fraud brainstorming. For example, researchers could investigate the extent to which costs or technical issues are impediments to the use of such systems in practice.23 In addition, future research could assess participants' satisfaction and future performance after they are provided with outcome feedback that validates the superior effectiveness of electronic fraud brainstorming. Another avenue for future research is to investigate whether the task focus gains from electronic brainstorming persist in groups of varying sizes. It would also be fruitful to investigate whether adding features such as individualized performance feedback and specific brainstorming goals to the electronic fraud brainstorming system's user interface would improve performance, as suggested by Jung et al. (2010). Finally, given our finding of significantly greater task focus when using computer-mediated communication in the context of the fraud brainstorming task, and in light of the mixed results in prior research on task focus between electronic and face-to-face brainstorming, future research could further investigate this phenomenon in the context of other complex business-oriented tasks requiring domain-specific knowledge. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that the superiority of electronic fraud brainstorming over face-to-face fraud brainstorming stems primarily from enhanced task focus, which is an intrinsic feature of computer-mediated communication but is difficult to replicate in a face-to-face setting. Our research results also reveal that participants brainstorming electronically are satisfied with the process and outcome and find an electronic brainstorming system easy to use. Therefore, these issues should not present impediments to the adoption of electronic fraud brainstorming systems by public accounting firms and others (e.g., internal audit departments). Combined with the Lynch et al. (2009) results, the current study provides an even stronger basis for recommending the use of electronic fraud brainstorming systems to auditing practitioners.