How Do Information Ambiguity and Timing of Contextual Information Affect Managers’ Goal Congruence in Making Investment Decisions in Good Times vs. Bad Times?
Information ambiguity is prevalent in organizations and may influence management decisions. This study draws upon research on information bias and ambiguity research to empirically test how information ambiguity and non-financial factors (e.g., interpersonal information) affect managers’ capital budgeting decisions when in good vs. bad times. Ninety-two managers completed two experiments. In Experiment One, the information was presented sequentially. Our results show that without the presence of non-financial factors, managers tend to maximize the firm value. After receiving non-financial factors, a significant number of managers switched to the self-serving option in good times (the gain condition) but stayed with firm-value maximization in bad times (the loss condition). In Experiment Two, the information was presented simultaneously in the presence and absence of ambiguity. We found that in the presence of ambiguity, the information presentation has no impact on managers’ self-serving bias in good times or their firm-value maximization tendency in bad times. Interestingly, we also observed managers’ use of interpersonal information even in the absence of ambiguity. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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