Using accounting information can be complex and difficult because it requires joint decision making between two groups, accountants and line managers, whose different perspectives may interfere with communication and exchange. Interpersonal tension and mistrust may further intensify barriers to problem solving. Deutsch's theory of cooperation and competition was used to examine the interaction between managers and accountants as they made decisions with accounting information. Thirty-three managers from a large food retailer were interviewed on critical incidents. Structural equation and other results support the argument that cooperative goal interdependence induces an open-minded discussion of opposing views. This in turn results in productive decisions and strong relationships which in turn lead to appreciating and valuing the importance of collecting and using accounting and financial information. These relationships seemed to hold across accounting roles. Results were interpreted as suggesting that developing strongly cooperative goals and the skills of constructive controversy can facilitate productive problem solving between accountants and line managers.
- Collaborative decision making
- Dealing with cognitive biases
- Information exchange