Psychology Models of Management Accounting

Foundations and Trends in Accounting, Vol. 4, Nos. 3-4, 2009

150 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2010 Last revised: 17 Aug 2011

Joan L. Luft

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems

Michael D. Shields

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems

Date Written: March 3, 2010

Abstract

This review identifies subjective decision-making processes related to management accounting (MA) and uses these processes as a basis for organizing psychology-based research on MA. For each decision process we identify families of related psychology models that have supported robust theory-consistent empirical results. This MA literature addresses four main themes. First, individuals’ subjective valuation of monetary payoffs often depends on frames (reference points) provided by MA, and frames can influence the use of MA information in decision making. Second, the subjective value of non-monetary (social) payoffs from sources such as fairness, honesty, reciprocity, social identity or affect influence and are influenced by individuals’ MA-related decisions. Third, individuals’ subjective models of MA-related decisions often incorporate predictable simplifications that influence and are influenced by MA. Fourth, MA can influence — sometimes bias or limit — individuals’ learning, and learning influences MA, as individuals acquire parameter and variable values or the information to estimate them subjectively. We also identify two emerging themes and three gaps in the psychology-based MA literature.

JEL Classification: M46

Suggested Citation

Luft, Joan L. and Shields, Michael D., Psychology Models of Management Accounting (March 3, 2010). Foundations and Trends in Accounting, Vol. 4, Nos. 3-4, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1564180

Joan Luft

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States
517-432-2917 (Phone)
517-432-1101 (Fax)

Michael D. Shields (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States

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