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
Date Written: May 21, 2020
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: Suggested Citation