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Shared interest and honesty in budget reporting

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  • Church, Bryan K.
  • Hannan, R. Lynn
  • Kuang, Xi (Jason)

Abstract

This study uses two experiments to investigate the honesty of managers’ budget reports when the financial benefit resulting from budgetary slack is shared by the manager and other non-reporting employees. Drawing on moral disengagement theory, we predict that the shared interest in slack creation makes misreporting more self-justifiable to the manager and, therefore, leads to lower honesty. Consistent with our prediction, the results of our first experiment show that managers report less honestly when the benefit of slack is shared than when it is not shared, regardless of whether others are aware of the misreporting. Our second experiment investigates whether the preferences of the beneficiaries of the slack affect managers’ honesty. We predict that managers’ honesty will be improved when the beneficiaries of the slack have a known, higher-order preference for truthful reporting. Consistent with our prediction, the results show that managers report more honestly when other employees have a known preference for honesty than otherwise. The implications of our findings for management accounting research and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Church, Bryan K. & Hannan, R. Lynn & Kuang, Xi (Jason), 2012. "Shared interest and honesty in budget reporting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 155-167.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:37:y:2012:i:3:p:155-167
    DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2012.01.002
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    1. repec:mth:ijafr8:v:8:y:2018:i:2:p:118-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Brown, Jason L. & Fisher, Joseph G. & Sooy, Matthew & Sprinkle, Geoffrey B., 2014. "The effect of rankings on honesty in budget reporting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 237-246.
    3. Arleta Rasmußen, 2015. "Reporting behavior: a literature review of experimental studies," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 23(2), pages 283-311, June.
    4. Lan Guo & Theresa Libby & Xiaotao (Kelvin) Liu & Yu Tian, 2020. "Vertical Pay Dispersion, Peer Observability, and Misreporting in a Participative Budgeting Setting," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(1), pages 575-602, March.
    5. Staci A. Kenno & Michelle C. Lau & Barbara J. Sainty, 2018. "In Search of a Theory of Budgeting: A Literature Review," Accounting Perspectives, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 17(4), pages 507-553, December.
    6. Pantic, B., 2016. "Comparability of financial reports: A literature review of most recent studies," Working Papers 6451, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University.
    7. Church, Bryan K. & Kuang, Xi (Jason) & Liu, Yuebing (Sarah), 2019. "The effects of measurement basis and slack benefits on honesty in budget reporting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 74-84.
    8. Christian Daumoser & Bernhard Hirsch & Matthias Sohn, 2018. "Honesty in budgeting: a review of morality and control aspects in the budgetary slack literature," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 115-159, August.
    9. Arnold, Markus C. & Gillenkirch, Robert M., 2015. "Using negotiated budgets for planning and performance evaluation: An experimental study," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-16.
    10. Adam Maiga & Anders Nilsson & Fred Jacobs, 2014. "Assessing the impact of budgetary participation on budgetary outcomes: the role of information technology for enhanced communication and activity-based costing," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 5-32, September.
    11. Victor S. Maas & Marcel Van Rinsum, 2013. "How Control System Design Influences Performance Misreporting," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(5), pages 1159-1186, December.
    12. Pamela R. Murphy & Michael Wynes & Till‐Arne Hahn & Patricia G. Devine, 2020. "Why Are People Honest? Internal and External Motivations to Report Honestly†," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(2), pages 945-981, June.
    13. Douthit, Jeremy & Majerczyk, Michael, 2019. "Subordinate perceptions of the superior and agency costs: Theory and evidence," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    14. Cardinaels, Eddy, 2016. "Earnings benchmarks, information systems, and their impact on the degree of honesty in managerial reporting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 50-62.
    15. Chen, Clara Xiaoling & Rennekamp, Kristina M. & Zhou, Flora H., 2015. "The effects of forecast type and performance-based incentives on the quality of management forecasts," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 8-18.
    16. Thomas Liessem & Ivo Schedlinsky & Anja Schwering & Friedrich Sommer, 2015. "Budgetary slack under budget-based incentive schemes—the behavioral impact of social preferences, organizational justice, and moral disengagement," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 81-94, April.
    17. Brink, Alisa G. & Coats, Jennifer C. & Rankin, Frederick W., 2018. "Who’s the boss? The economic and behavioral implications of various characterizations of the superior in participative budgeting research," Journal of Accounting Literature, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 89-105.
    18. Tabea Franziska Hirth-Goebel & Barbara E. Weißenberger, 2019. "Management accountants and ethical dilemmas: How to promote ethical intention?," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 287-322, October.
    19. Yin, H., 2014. "Organizational architecture and pro-social behavior : Three essays," Other publications TiSEM d9fb03b9-cf92-4667-bd94-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    20. Markus Brunner & Andreas Ostermaier, 2019. "Peer Influence on Managerial Honesty: The Role of Transparency and Expectations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 154(1), pages 127-145, January.
    21. Lisa-Marie Wibbeke & Maik Lachmann, 2020. "Psychology in management accounting and control research: an overview of the recent literature," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 275-328, September.

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