The Influence of Evaluative Reactions to Attribute Frames and Accounting Data on Capital Budgeting Decisions

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this dissertation was to analyze the susceptibility of capital budgeting decisions to bias. Based on the political nature of many of these decisions, attribute framing effects were analyzed in a capital budgeting decision context. Specifically, two independent variables were analyzed: accounting data and attribute frames. This research proposed that attribute framing effects would be conditional on the nature of the accounting data being considered. When the accounting data elicited a positive or negative evaluative reaction, attribute frames were expected to be unobtrusive to capital budgeting decisions. However, when the accounting data was neutral, eliciting an ambiguous evaluative reaction, attribute frames were predicted to bias these decisions. An experiment was conducted that considered the issue across two types of capital budgeting decisions: accept/reject decisions (dichotomous decision) and strategic alliance judgments (monetary allocations). Experimental findings strongly support the predicted relationships. These results suggest that persuasive descriptions are not effective in capital budgeting contexts when accounting data provides a clear picture as to the investment's future success; however, these tactics may be vitally important when accounting information is unclear about the investment's future success.

Capital Budgeting, Information Ambiguity, Evaluative Reactions, Attribute Framing