Information search, attention distribution and biased performance evaluations: Evidence from students and executive managers

52 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2018 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Matthias Sohn

Matthias Sohn

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Bernhard Hirsch

Bundeswehr University Munich

Michael Schulte-Mecklenbeck

University of Bern; ETH Zürich

Date Written: May 21, 2020

Abstract

Prior research has found that managers rely more on common measures than on unique measures when evaluating multiple subordinate managers’ performance. We examine the effects of the exhaustiveness of information search and attention distribution across performance measures on this ‘common measure bias’. Using a mouse cursor-tracking experiment, we observe that superior managers’ pre-decisional information search processes are largely unrelated to their performance evaluation judgments. Instead, our data suggest that even when superiors devote equal attention to common and unique measures, they put greater weight on common measures in subjective ratings. We also find that a more exhaustive information search leads to more lenient performance evaluations. These results hold for a student and an executive manager sample. Our results suggest that the common measure bias is not the result of a biased or limited information search but of explicitly putting more weight on common measures.

Keywords: Balanced Scorecard, Common Measure Bias, Expertise, Process Tracing, MouselabWEB

JEL Classification: M41, M54

Suggested Citation

Sohn, Matthias and Hirsch, Bernhard and Schulte-Mecklenbeck, Michael, Information search, attention distribution and biased performance evaluations: Evidence from students and executive managers (May 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3240457 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3240457

Matthias Sohn (Contact Author)

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) ( email )

Grosse Scharrnstr. 59
Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg 15230
Germany

Bernhard Hirsch

Bundeswehr University Munich ( email )

Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
Neubiberg, 85577
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.unibw.de

Michael Schulte-Mecklenbeck

University of Bern ( email )

Gesellschaftsstrasse 49
Bern, BERN 3001
Switzerland

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
65
Abstract Views
1,208
rank
413,960
PlumX Metrics