We experimentally demonstrate that perspective taking improves the auditor performance evaluation process by mitigating the outcome effect and increasing evaluator focus on decision process quality. In a common setting in which a staff auditor exhibits appropriate skeptical behavior that correctly identifies no misstatement, supervising auditors prompted to take the perspective of the staff auditor evaluate the staff’s performance more highly than unprompted auditors—performance ratings that align with ratings provided to auditors who detect a misstatement. Results indicate that perspective taking mitigates the outcome effect by increasing supervisor attention to information cues about the staff’s decision process quality and away from cues about the nondiagnostic misstatement outcome. We also show that perspective taking increases evaluator consensus and reduces the variance in evaluator ratings that often plague performance reviews. Overall, our findings suggest that perspective taking can improve attention to process quality and help align reward structures with desired auditor behavior.
JEL Classifications: M40; M42.