How Pressure Can Strengthen or Weaken an Accounting Firm

Both good and bad pressures get inside every organization.



Pressure, as it goes in the song by Queen: “Pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you...

Just as Freddie Mercury’s popular refrain sticks in your head, both good and bad pressures get inside every organization. Those pressures can push people to do the right thing faster and better, or press people and organizations into making bad decisions. 

The ultimate question is, inside your organization, is pressure pushing people to excel or crumble? Or has pressure’s character led your people toward negative, even unethical behaviors? 


The best study of negative pressure’s impacts was done in the 1950s by Solomon Asch. Asch tested the effects of group pressure: 75% of the subjects knowingly went along with obviously wrong answers to a simple question—demonstrating group pressure at work.  Asch’s study tasked participants to say which of three lines was the longest.  The test subjects were asked second to last which of the three lines was the longest.  The plants, everyone in the group aside from the test subject, would advocate to the group that the longest line was in fact the shortest.  75% of the time, the subject went along with the groups wrong answer.

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Source: CPA Practice Advisor

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