Team discourse explains media richness and anonymity effects in audit fraud cue brainstorming

Cam Cockrell, Dan N. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article contributes by extending media richness (MRT) and media synchronicity theories (MST) to explore how media richness and anonymity influence team interactions and success in audit fraud brainstorming. Sixty-three, three-person teams, with 189 student participants from two Universities, identified fraud risk cues in a SAS 99 audit planning case. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: electronic anonymity (EA; n = 18 teams), electronic identified (EI; n = 28 teams), or identified face-to-face (FtF; n = 17 teams). Compared with teams in the low media richness conditions, i.e., the EA and EI, discussions in FtF teams produced more and better dialog, which resulted in better identification of fraud risk cues. Additionally, compared with the discussions in the EA teams, FtF team discussions evidenced less narcissism and were more focused and inhibited. Mediation analyses of team interactions indicated that the quantity of dialog (team production) completely explains, fully mediates, the effects of media richness and anonymity on risk assessments. Contributions include extending MRT and MST, and using automated content analysis, to explicate the role of media richness, anonymity, and team interactions in explaining audit team fraud identification success. The concluding section identifies the sample, design, and method limitations, and, discusses the potential for group support technologies to enhance or detract from audit team processes, depending on task, context, and technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-242
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting Information Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to Kathy Hurtt and workshop participants at the 2008 Information Systems Mid-year meeting for comments on previous drafts. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the University of North Texas College of Business, and Department of Accounting, the Gatton College of Business & Economics and the Von Allmen School of Accountancy , and, the invaluable help of Bob Ramsay, Renee Olvera & Amanda Hall.


  • Anonymity
  • Automated content analysis
  • Brainstorming
  • Fraud
  • Media richness
  • Media synchronicity theory
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Information Systems and Management


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