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The Effect of Cognitive Style and Report Format on Task Performance: The MIS Design Consequences


  • Edward J. Lusk

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Michael Kersnick

    (Pennsylvania State University)


The effective design and implementation of an information system is a complex undertaking which requires management to anticipate the possible effects of different psychological dispositions and various reports on task performance. To provide information that management may use in developing an information system, a group of subjects (n = 403) were (1) classified as high or low analytic depending upon their score on the Embedded Figures Test, (2) given five reports which they ranked according to their perception of the degree of difficulty they expected each report to present in performing a task, and (3) required to answer 20 questions with one of the previously ranked reports. The five reports used in the experiment were a raw data report (Report A) and four reports generated from the information presented in Report A. Report B was a tabular report of the percentage relationship of the raw data. Reports C, D, and E were a histogram of the raw data, a cumulative frequency graphic of the raw data and a cumulative frequency graphic of the percentages respectively. Therefore, there were two groups: High and Low Analytics, five reports and one task. The results of the experiment were (1) the perceived complexity rankings (lowest to highest) for both the high and low analytics were Report A, Report B, Report C, Report D, and Report E, (2) individuals classified as high analytic outperformed the individuals classified as low analytic on each of the five reports, and (3) for both the high and low analytics task performance decreased as perceived complexity increased. The implications of these results are (1) for tasks similar to the one tested that task performance may be enhanced by assigning such tasks to high analytic individuals, (2) individuals are able to perceive those reports which are likely to cause performance difficulties, and (3) using the report perceived as least complex is likely to be a valid report specification rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward J. Lusk & Michael Kersnick, 1979. "The Effect of Cognitive Style and Report Format on Task Performance: The MIS Design Consequences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(8), pages 787-798, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:25:y:1979:i:8:p:787-798

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    Cited by:

    1. Mala, Rajni & Chand, Parmod, 2014. "Impacts of Additional Guidance Provided on International Financial Reporting Standards on the Judgments of Accountants," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 263-288.
    2. Gerrit H. van Bruggen & Ale Smidts & Berend Wierenga, 1998. "Improving Decision Making by Means of a Marketing Decision Support System," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(5), pages 645-658, May.
    3. Rajiv D. Banker & Robert J. Kauffman, 2004. "50th Anniversary Article: The Evolution of Research on Information Systems: A Fiftieth-Year Survey of the Literature in Management Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 281-298, March.
    4. Marimo, Pricilla & Kaplan, Todd R & Mylne, Ken & Sharpe, Martin, 2012. "Communication of uncertainty in weather forecasts," MPRA Paper 38287, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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