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Predecisional Distortion of Information by Auditors and Salespersons

  • J. Edward Russo

    ()

    (Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853)

  • Margaret G. Meloy

    ()

    (Department of Marketing, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0236)

  • T. Jeffrey Wilks

    ()

    (Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853)

Registered author(s):

    As people are deciding between two alternatives, they may distort new information to support whichever alternative is tentatively preferred. The presence of such predecisional distortion of information was tested in decisions made by two groups of professionals, auditors and salespersons. Both groups exhibited substantial distortion of information, with little reduction for professional decisions compared to nonprofessional ones. However, auditors' distortion was significantly smaller than that of salespersons. In addition, holding professionals accountable for their decisions, akin to a supervisory review, lowered distortion somewhat for salespersons but not at all for auditors. The latter seemed to act as if they were always being held accountable. Because people seem unaware that they are distorting information, at least at the moment this bias is occurring, they are fully convinced of the soundness of their choices. This may make it difficult for distortion to be detected by decision makers themselves or even by supervisors who cannot completely duplicate their subordinate's knowledge.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.46.1.13.15127
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 13-27

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:1:p:13-27
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