Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel No. 186
It is a basic premise of accounting that supplying managers with "good", problem-adequate, reliable, valid, actual, and material information will increase the efficiency of their decisions. However, production of such information is only a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for better decision-making. One also has to secure that this information is used properly. This is the research domain of behavioral accounting (and behavioral MIS/DSS-research). It posits that decision quality is not only affected by content and quality of information, but also by the way how it is communicated and perceived. Therefore one also has to analyze how variables like amount of information offered, aggregation level, communication medium, and presentation form affect decision quality. One of these instruments, presentation form, will be analyzed in this paper. In particular, we test how tree-structured presentation formats affect information behavior and decision quality. Tree-structured presentation formats have been used in controlling for a long time, as the example of the well-known Du-Pont-Control-Tree documents. However, despite its widespread use, as far as we know, the efficiency impacts of this tool have not been tested systematically. We shall first review the empirical studies which have tested the impact of graphical decision aids and then present results from our own experimental work.