Quantification and Persuasion in Managerial Judgment

59 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2003 Last revised: 5 Jul 2008

See all articles by Kathryn Kadous

Kathryn Kadous

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Lisa Koonce

University of Texas

Kristy L. Towry

Emory University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 1, 2004


Accounting involves assigning numbers to events-quantifying them. Conventional wisdom holds that putting numbers to an argument enhances its persuasive power. However, little scholarly evidence exists to support or refute this claim, in accounting or elsewhere. In this paper, we develop an original process-based model of how quantification influences persuasion. We posit that including a high-quality quantified analysis in a proposal enhances its persuasive power by increasing both the perceived competence of the proposal preparer and the perceived plausibility that a favorable outcome could occur. However, under some conditions, quantification also encourages criticism of the details of the proposal, which potentially offsets these effects. We experimentally test implications of our model in a managerial decision setting, investigating conditions in which quantification is more and less likely to result in criticism of the quantified proposal and, thus, less and more likely to be persuasive. We also test the model, itself, using structural equations methods. Results largely support the model, which should prove of value to researchers interested in the effects of quantification on judgments and to those interested in persuasion.

Note: Previously titled "Quantification and Persuasion in Managerial Judgment"

Keywords: Quantification, accounting, persuasion, measurement

JEL Classification: G31, M40, M46

Suggested Citation

Kadous, Kathryn and Koonce, Lisa L. and Towry, Kristy L., Quantification and Persuasion in Managerial Judgment (November 1, 2004). McCombs Research Paper Series No. ACC-11-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=313039 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.313039

Kathryn Kadous

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States
404-727-4967 (Phone)

Lisa L. Koonce

University of Texas ( email )

Dept. of Accounting
McCombs School of Business
Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-471-5576 (Phone)
512-471-3904 (Fax)

Kristy L. Towry (Contact Author)

Emory University ( email )

Goizueta Business School
1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4895 (Phone)

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