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The effects of process and outcome accountability on judgment process and performance

  • Langhe, Bart de
  • van Osselaer, Stijn M.J.
  • Wierenga, Berend
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    This article challenges the view that it is always better to hold decision makers accountable for their decision process rather than their decision outcomes. In three multiple-cue judgment studies, the authors show that process accountability, relative to outcome accountability, consistently improves judgment quality in relatively simple elemental tasks. However, this performance advantage of process accountability does not generalize to more complex configural tasks. This is because process accountability improves an analytical process based on cue abstraction, while it does not change a holistic process based on exemplar memory. Cue abstraction is only effective in elemental tasks (in which outcomes are a linear additive combination of cues) but not in configural tasks (in which outcomes depend on interactions between the cues). In addition, Studies 2 and 3 show that the extent to which process and outcome accountability affect judgment quality depends on individual differences in analytical intelligence and rational thinking style.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 115 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 238-252

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:115:y:2011:i:2:p:238-252
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    1. Simonson, Itamar & Nye, Peter, 1992. "The effect of accountability on susceptibility to decision errors," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 416-446, April.
    2. Arkes, Hal R. & Dawes, Robyn M. & Christensen, Caryn, 1986. "Factors influencing the use of a decision rule in a probabilistic task," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 93-110, February.
    3. Ashton, Robert H., 1992. "Effects of justification and a mechanical aid on judgment performance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 292-306, July.
    4. Bartels, Daniel M., 2006. "Proportion dominance: The generality and variability of favoring relative savings over absolute savings," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 76-95, May.
    5. Thomas P. Novak & Donna L. Hoffman, 2009. "The Fit of Thinking Style and Situation: New Measures of Situation-Specific Experiential and Rational Cognition," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 56-72, 06.
    6. Slaughter, Jerel E. & Bagger, Jessica & Li, Andrew, 2006. "Context effects on group-based employee selection decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 47-59, May.
    7. Siegel-Jacobs, Karen & Yates, J. Frank, 1996. "Effects of Procedural and Outcome Accountability on Judgment Quality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-17, January.
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