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Consultants’ advice to adopt management control systems: the joint effect of persuasion triggers and manager competence

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Title: Consultants’ advice to adopt management control systems: the joint effect of persuasion triggers and manager competence
Author(s): Leiby, Justin
Director of Research: Bol, Jasmijn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Peecher, Mark E.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Bol, Jasmijn; Pomeroy, Bradley; Albarracin, Dolores; Kadous, Kathryn
Department / Program: Accountancy
Discipline: Accountancy
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Management control systems Consultant Advice Persuasion Enterprise resource planning
Abstract: CFOs and other managers depend on consultants to provide advice on management control systems (MCS) and the expertise to implement these systems. However, there is little evidence on the determinants of the consultant’s advice about whether managers should adopt management control systems. I use multiple methods to investigate this ill-understood research question. In study 1, I interview senior practitioners to better understand the context and identify the manifestations of two common persuasion tactics in the consulting setting, specifically social proof and scarcity (Cialdini 1993; 2001), which are likely to influence the consultant’s advice to the manager. In study 2, I conduct an experiment using professional consultants to investigate whether the consultant’s advice to adopt an MCS depends on its distinctiveness (i.e. whether or not the manager’s competitors have adopted the tool) and the manager’s competence. I predict and find that distinctiveness triggers the persuasion tactics of social proof or scarcity, and that the consultant applies these tactics based on the manager’s competence. Consultants are more likely to advise a distinctive versus non-distinctive MCS to an exceptional manager, while they are more likely to advise a non-distinctive MCS to an average manager. I provide evidence that consultants apply different persuasion tactics based on the competence of the manager. I also provide evidence that consultants believe that their advice will benefit the manager on multiple key performance indicators (KPIs). Consistent with persuasion theory, differences in these anticipated benefits explain the consultant’s advice to the exceptional manager, but not to the average manager. Finally, I discuss practical and theoretical implications of these studies.
Issue Date: 2011-08-25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/26062
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Justin Leiby
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-25
Date Deposited: 2011-08
 

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