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ChatGPT’s inconsistent moral advice influences users’ judgment
OpenAI’s ChatGPT fascinates users with its knowledge and wit. It’s also a tireless generator of advice. However, you certainly wouldn’t rely on the advice of a chatting bot for important decisions, or would you? More than you might think, research by Sebastian Krügel, Andreas Ostermaier, and Matthias Uhl suggests. In a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the authors find that ChatGPT lacks a moral position but readily gives moral advice nonetheless. Users are heavily influenced by this advice. However, they keep thinking that they are not, and that they made their own judgment. Find the full article at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-31341-0 (open access).
Algorithms as partners in crime: A lesson in ethics by design
Can we rely on the human in the loop to correct unethical decisions by AI-powered algorithms? Results of an experiment by Sebastian Krügel, Andreas Ostermaier, and Matthias Uhl suggest that humans exploit rather than correct unethical decisions. Conversely, if the algorithm is the corrective to human decisions (rather than if the human is the corrective to decisions by an algorithm), the authors do not observe such moral failure. These findings have been published in Computers in Human Behavior and are available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2022.107483 (open access).
Best Reviewer Award in Management Accounting
Junior Management Science (JUMS) is a unique outlet for excellent student theses in the field of business. Andreas Ostermaier is an associate editor and frequent reviewer of JUMS. In recognition of his work, JUMS and its funder, Joachim Herz Foundation, have awarded the Best Reviewer Award in Management Accounting to Andreas at this year’s annual meeting in Hamburg on September 9–10. Andreas would like to encourage SDU students to submit their theses to JUMS. All published articles can be found at https://jums.academy/fachbereiche/ (open access).
Annual meeting of the American Accounting Association
Andreas Ostermaier was happy to attend the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association in San Diego on August 1–3, 2022. As always, the meeting was a great opportunity to network with top accounting researchers from across the globe and discuss recent research. Andreas is happy that his joint work with Peter Schäfer from Technische Universität München was well-received by the participants.
Seminar at TUM School of Management
Andreas Ostermaier taught his PhD seminar "Introduction to Experimental Economics" at TUM School of Management in Munich on July 25–27, 2022. The seminar is a building block of the school's PhD program and it was well-received by the thirteen participants. Thanks to TUM School of Management's dean Gunther Friedl and head of the Faculty Graduate Center Alwine Mohnen for having Andreas and including the seminar in their PhD program—and to the bright and dedicated participants for making it a success.
ENEAR biennial meeting in Sevilla
Razvan Ghita and Andreas Ostermaier attended the third conference of the European Network for Experimental Accounting Research (ENEAR) at the University Pablo de Olavide in Sevilla on July 7–8, 2022 to present their own and discuss others' work. Thanks to Laura Maria Gómez Ruiz from University Pablo de Olavide and Victor Maas from the University of Amsterdam for organizing this exciting conference.
Will your employee repay your well-intended but potentially unsuccessful attempt to help them? If your employee feels strongly about fairness, the answer is yes. If your employee doesn’t feel strongly about fairness, the risk that your attempt fails comes in handy as an excuse to take your gift without returning any. The European Accounting Review has published this finding by Andreas Ostermaier and Peter Schäfer ("Do Good Intentions Pay Off? Employee Responses to Well-Intended Actions with Risky Outcomes", https://doi.org/10.1080/09638180.2022.2085132). The preprint is available at http://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4122325 (open access).
The journal Philosophy & Technology has published the article "Zombies in the Loop? Humans Trust Untrustworthy AI-Advisors for Ethical Decisions" by Sebastian Krügel, Andreas Ostermaier, and Matthias Uhl. The authors find that humans tend to overtrust AI-powered advice in ethical decision-making. We therefore shouldn't count on the human in the loop, which is widely considered key to protect us from erroneous or unethical decisions by AI-powered algorithms. Transparency about the algorithm is not enough to prompt users to critically reflect on it. The authors conclude that improving digital literacy is probably the best we can do. The article is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-022-00511-9 (open access).
We are happy to announce that Razvan Ghita has successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Accounting Information and Discretionary Evaluations” at the University of Amsterdam on November 17. Razvan’s dissertation examines how middle-level supervisors integrate additional information in their discretionary evaluation decisions, and how employees react to these evaluations. His dissertation suggests that supervisors ignore relevant information about employee behavior because they prefer partially rewarding employees for good and bad luck. The results also suggest that only changing how supervisors evaluate employees is not enough to change employee behavior because employees do not initially anticipate how supervisors will evaluate them.
The Journal of Accounting Research has published research on managerial optimism and debt covenants co-authored by Jakob Infuehr. Volker Laux and Jakob Infuehr find that managers who are more optimistic about the future success of their investment ideas provide lenders with greater control rights via tighter debt covenants. This is optimal for optimistic managers even though they understand that tighter covenants increase the probability of covenant violations and lead to excessive lender intervention. The article is available at https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-679X.12402.
Organization Science has published research on information sharing and performance co-authored by Andreas Ostermaier: “Effects of Social Information on Risk Taking and Performance: Understanding Others’ Decisions vs. Comparing Oneself with Others in Short-Term Performance.” Sabine Pittnauer, Martin Hohnisch, Andreas Pfingsten, and Andreas Ostermaier find that information about others' decisions can help us make better decisions, but also tempts us to engage in destructive rivalry. Information systems that introduce psychological distance between decision-makers constrain rivalry and allow organizations to reap the benefit of social learning. The article is available at https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2021.1507.
We are happy to share that Jochen Theis’ co-authored article “The Influence of Firms’ Emissions Management Strategy Disclosures on Investors’ Valuation Judgments” has been made available open-access by Contemporary Accounting Research (CAR) as part of a virtual issue on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The virtual issue presents six studies recently published in CAR that represent various aspects of the CSR research agenda. The virtual issue can be accessed through https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/toc/10.1111/(ISSN)1911-3846.corporate-social-responsibility.
We are glad to share that Emeritus Professor John Christensen will be awarded the Anthony G. Hopwood Award for Academic Leadership by the European Accounting Association. John served as a professor of accounting at SDU since 1979. He has been an outstanding and most influential researcher and teacher throughout his impressive career. The EAA’s award recognizes John’s academic excellence, his academic leadership, and his contribution to the EAA.