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Conference Proceedings (2002), Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on New Directions in Management Accounting: Innovations in Practice and Research, European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM), pp. 185-211

The Behavioural Impact of Management Accounting: New Insights from Cognitive Psychology

For about ten years, the behavioural influence of management control systems (MCS) has been increasingly reaffirmed. Behaviour partly relies on representations and MCS assume that managers pay a special attention to performance measures evidencing a poor performance. This implicit hypothesis may be related to general cognitive psychology theories, which theorise this kind of perception as a salience effect. However, many opposite perception processes, relying on consistency effects, are reported by cognitive and social psychologists. This article presents the results of an empirical research, the aim of which was to test the relevance of the salience versus consistency effect hypothesis regarding the perception of performance of evaluation criteria (PEC). Consistency effects occur about as frequently as salience effects - which leads to question the basic assumption of MCS. Additionally, the results suggest that future research frameworks might fruitfully integrate other psychological concepts, namely self-esteem and locus of control.

ANCELIN-BOURGUIGNON, A. (2002). The Behavioural Impact of Management Accounting: New Insights from Cognitive Psychology. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on New Directions in Management Accounting: Innovations in Practice and Research. European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM), pp. 185-211.