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The effects of process and outcome accountability on judgment process and performance

Authors
Journal
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
0749-5978
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
115
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.02.003
Keywords
  • Multiple-Cue Judgment
  • Dual-Process Models
  • Cue Abstraction
  • Exemplar Memory
  • Process Accountability
  • Outcome Accountability
  • Epistemic Motivation
  • Analytical Intelligence
  • Raven Matrices
  • Rational–Experiential Inventory

Abstract

Abstract This article challenges the view that it is always better to hold decision makers accountable for their decision process rather than their decision outcomes. In three multiple-cue judgment studies, the authors show that process accountability, relative to outcome accountability, consistently improves judgment quality in relatively simple elemental tasks. However, this performance advantage of process accountability does not generalize to more complex configural tasks. This is because process accountability improves an analytical process based on cue abstraction, while it does not change a holistic process based on exemplar memory. Cue abstraction is only effective in elemental tasks (in which outcomes are a linear additive combination of cues) but not in configural tasks (in which outcomes depend on interactions between the cues). In addition, Studies 2 and 3 show that the extent to which process and outcome accountability affect judgment quality depends on individual differences in analytical intelligence and rational thinking style.

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