Fraud brainstorming group composition in auditing: The persuasive power of a skeptical minority

Michelle McAllister, Allen D. Blay, Kathryn Kadous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We experimentally examine the effects of trait professional skepticism on fraud brainstorming performance. We find that groups with a minority, but not a majority, of high trait skeptics develop more fraud ideas than control groups with no high trait skeptics. Mediation analyses indicate that minority high trait skeptic groups also assess higher fraud risk, in part because they consider more fraud ideas. Low trait skeptics who brainstorm in groups with a minority of high trait skeptics tend to view the minority high trait skeptic as the best member of the group because of that member's unique insights. Their individual, post-brainstorming fraud risk assessments remain high, indicating conversion to the minority (skeptical) viewpoint. Our study contributes to the brainstorming literature by highlighting the importance of group composition. It suggests that firms can promote skeptical team judgments by leveraging individuals' high trait skepticism in thoughtfully composed interacting groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-448
Number of pages18
JournalAccounting Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Fraud brainstorming
  • Fraud risk assessment
  • Group decision making
  • Minority influence
  • Professional skepticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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