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Individual Performance Measures: Effects of Experience on Preference for Financial or Non-Financial Measures

Advances in Management Accounting

ISBN: 978-1-78714-530-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-529-0

ISSN: 1474-7871

Publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Prior research identified conflicts in implementing performance measurement systems that include both financial and non-financial measures. Attempts to incorporate non-financial measures, for example, balanced scorecards (BSCs), have shown short-term success, only to be replaced with systems that rely on financial measures. We develop a theoretical model to explore evaluators’ choice and use of the most important performance measurement criterion among financial and non-financial measures.

Methodology/approach

Our model links participants’ prior evaluation experiences with their attitudes about relative accounting qualities and with their choice of the most important performance measure. This choice subsequently affects their evaluation judgments of managers who perform differentially on financial versus non-financial measures.

Findings

Experimental testing of our structural equation model indicates that it meets the accepted goodness of fit criteria. We conclude that experience has an influence on choice of performance measures and on decision heuristics in making such evaluations. We suggest that an “experience gap” must be considered when deciding which performance metrics to emphasize in scorecards or similar performance reports. We analyzed four accounting qualities, importance, relevance, reliability, and comparability and found that importance, relevance, and reliability have strong effects on how managers prioritize and use accounting measures.

Originality/value

We conducted our study in a controlled, experimental setting, including participants with diverse experiences. We provide direct evidence of participants’ experience and attitudes about the relative accounting qualities of financial and non-financial measures which we link to their choice of the most important performance measure. We link this choice to their performance evaluations.

Keywords

Citation

Roberts, M.L., Neumann, B.R. and Cauvin, E. (2017), "Individual Performance Measures: Effects of Experience on Preference for Financial or Non-Financial Measures", Advances in Management Accounting (Advances in Management Accounting, Vol. 28), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 191-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1474-787120170000028007

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited