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Dr. Jörn Sebastian Basel Heuristic Reasoning in Management Accounting Heuristics are short-cuts and deliberately ignore information, for instance through examining fewer cues or integrating less information. However, this collides with a view on management accountants and controllers as rational agents which seems to suggest that all available information should be considered. As their role as information supplier is often accompanied with the task to assist managers in their judgment and decision making, they have huge influence on these processes. Therefore, it is of high relevance to know if, how, and which heuristics management accountants and controllers use. Furthermore, we need to know which individual and situational factors influence their usage of heuristics. With a series of five empirical studies, applying a mixed-methods research design, Jörn Basel sheds light to these research questions and addresses some central claims of the potential biases but also the stunning benefits of relying on heuristic reasoning. Central to his discussion are dual-process-approaches which are debated in cognitive psychology. Scholars of these approaches claim that we should distinguish between two distinct processes (or systems) of the human mind. Following this interpretation, heuristics are processes which are described as intuitive, automatic, fast, and unconscious. They are routinized cognitive processes which are based on experience in certain social environments and thus often exhibit ecological rationality. Overall, Jörn Basel’s ambitious and innovative dissertation picks up an up-to-date topic in behavioural accounting research, which not only is of relevance for researchers but as well for practitioners. I am convinced that both researchers and practitioners will benefit from reading this fine piece of research and I wish this book all the success it deserves. Broschiert: 268 Seiten Verlag: Josef Eul Verlag Gmbh; Auflage: 1 (Juli 2012) Sprache: Englisch ISBN-10: 3844101608 ISBN-13: 978-3844101607 Größe 21,4 x 14,9 x 2,3 cm

Content 1


1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

On making (rational) decisions in management accounting Derivation of the research questions Research methods Research procedure


Judgment and decision making and heuristics in (management) accounting

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7

Rationality in management research Explaining social action From unbounded- to bounded- to ecological rationality Development of behavioral research in accounting Judgment and decision making and cognitive aspects in behavioral accounting research Excursus: Assuring rationality – a German perspective Toward a theoretical framework of heuristic reasoning in management accounting


Synopsis and research design

3.1 3.2 3.3

Synopsis toward the empirical research design Specifications of research design and research gap Mixed methods in the context of testing theories


Step I: Experimental studies

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.4.4

Study: 1 can “less-be-more” in management accounting Study 2: verbal protocol analysis of accounting problem solving Study 3: on the accountability of accountants Study 4: Choice reversal in management accounting – a quasi- experimental demonstration Discussion


Step II: Qualitative study

5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Understanding the decision process – a qualitative approach Case selection and description Data collection Qualitative results


Final summary and conclusion

6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4

Contributions and added value of the overall work Limitations of the research design Future research directions Overall conclusion

About the author: Jörn Sebastian Basel studied psychology from 2002 to 2008 in Konstanz, Toronto and Heidelberg specializing in the fields of organizational, cognitive and social psychology. Between 2008 and 2011 he worked as a research assistant for the chair of management control (Prof. Dr. Rolf Brühl) at the ESCP Europe Business School Berlin and was a visiting scholar at the University of Florida. In June 2012 he finished his dissertation on heuristic reasoning in management accounting obtaining the degree of “Dr. rer. pol.”.

Jörn Basel - Heuristic Reasoning in Management Accounting  

Summary of Doctoral Thesis 2012

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