Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

Ramji Balakrishnan

First Committee Member

Timothy Ansley

Second Committee Member

Joyce Berg

Third Committee Member

Dhananjay Nayakankuppam

Fourth Committee Member

Mark Penno

Fifth Committee Member

Richard Tubbs


In this study I examine the joint effect of explanations and monetary incentives on employees' effort allocation decisions in a multi-action setting. A rich literature in economics indicates that monetary incentives substantially influence employees' decisions. This literature demonstrates that the size of the incentive for a given performance measure should consider the measure's sensitivity, congruence and precision. Research in psychology demonstrates the decision influencing effects of explanations (a non-monetary factor) on employees' decisions through perceptions of fairness. I expect that effort allocation decisions are influenced both by explanations and monetary incentives: I hypothesize that providing reasonable and complete explanations substantively alter agents' action choices relative to a setting with monetary incentives alone. Using student subjects in experiments, I find that monetary incentives matter. Moreover, for sizeable monetary incentives, providing a detailed explanation modifies behavior favorably relative to when an unclear explanation is provided. However, for all of the considered monetary incentives, merely requesting a desired course of action is also enough to modify behavior favorably. This study contributes to the accounting literature by providing evidence of a decision influencing benefit associated with the use of explanations such as causal maps employed by firms adopting the balanced scorecard. This study also contributes to the organizational justice literature by providing evidence regarding the interaction effect of multiple antecedents of justice.


Performance measure, incentive, effort allocation, explanation, justice, congruence


x, 191 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 188-191).


Copyright 2008 Ronald Nathan Guymon

Included in

Accounting Commons