Causal inference in judgment using the balanced scorecard

Kristian Rotaru, Dennis D. Fehrenbacher, Min Hui Liang, Axel K.-D. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


One of the potential threats to the effectiveness of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is that managers over-or underuse particular perspectives of the BSC. Specifically, we investigate the effects of (1) the presentation of strategic objectives (generic strategy map versus strategic objective list), and (2) the performance outcome patterns (positive versus negative outer perspective) across the performance measurement perspectives of the BSC and find support that is consistent with the violation of the causal independence assumption (VCIA) in the psychology literature (Rehder 2014). Our findings show that the presentation of the strategic objectives and the performance outcome patterns interact significantly affecting performance evaluation outcomes. Two follow-up experiments provide further support for the VCIA observed in the main experiment by ruling out an alternative explanation that managers simply place a greater emphasis on financial performance measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-224
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Management Accounting Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Balanced scorecard
  • Causal inference
  • Performance evaluation
  • Strategy map

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