Professionals are challenged daily with difficult decisions. Capital budgeting decisions are one type of difficult decision, especially in firms that embrace a Balanced Scorecard management philosophy. In these firms, the decision maker frequently must choose among multiple options on the basis of multiple criteria with no one option dominating across all criteria. Not only must the decision maker evaluate each option on each criteria, the decision maker also must weigh the relative importance of each criteria when making a final judgment. When faced with difficult decisions, decision makers will resort to various coping behaviors, such as decision avoidance or delay, status quo bias, deferral to others' preferences, or reliance on decision aids. In a Balanced Scorecard environment, one important type of decision aid is the strategy map. The ambiguity introduced by multiple options and multiple criteria also creates a condition in which the subjective biases of the decision-maker can easily manifest in the absence or despite decision aids. Among those potential biases are self-interests and national culture. In this study we examine the effects on capital budgeting decisions of two common types of strategy maps as well as incentive effects and national culture. An objective of Balanced Scorecard management practices is to overcome a common North American fixation on short-term financial outcomes. Recent research submits that an appropriate strategy map will facilitate that end by overcoming certain other cognitive limitations (such as fixation on common metrics). Our inquiry will examine whether biases related to self-interests and national culture persist in the presence of two common strategy maps. A behavioral experiment was conducted in which 140. MBA students from Spain and the U.S. with average work experience of 10. years participated. Findings were that significant fixation on short-term financial outcomes persists in the presence of one common strategy map, but not in the presence of an alternate common strategy map, and that incentive and national culture biases persist in the presence of both. In addition, all three experimental variables exhibited significance and equivalent influence, although prior research has only addressed the influence of incentives.
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