The influence of peer attitude and inherent scepticism on auditors' sceptical judgments

Sammy X. Ying*, Chris Patel, Peipei Pan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Our study examines whether auditors’ sceptical judgments are influenced by peer attitude in the context of a peer providing informal advice to auditors in China. We hypothesise that when peer attitude reflects a high (low) emphasis on professional scepticism, auditors will be more (less) sceptical in their judgments. Our results from a between-subjects experiment support this hypothesis. We further examine whether the effect of peer attitude on sceptical judgments differs between auditors with higher or lower levels of inherent scepticism. Our results show that the effect of peer attitude is stronger among auditors with higher levels of inherent scepticism. The results provide evidence on the potential boundaries of informal peer advice as a mechanism to elevate auditors’ professional scepticism. Our findings demonstrate the importance of understanding how peer attitude and inherent scepticism jointly influence their auditors’ sceptical judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-202
Number of pages24
JournalAccounting and Business Research
Issue number2
Early online date21 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2020


  • auditors’ judgments
  • Chinese auditors
  • inherent scepticism
  • peer attitude
  • professional scepticism


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