Online Behavioural Experiments

Evidence on their Effectiveness from Recent Studies in Accounting and BIS

Prof. Hans van der Heijden (University of Sussex)

CA110, Cairnes Building, NUI Galway 10:00 :: 16th May 2014

This seminar will focus on a relatively new research method in business and management research: behavioural experiments that are conducted entirely online, using complex survey software (e.g., Qualtrics) and an online research participant pool (e.g., Amazon Mechanical Turk). Prof. van der Heijden has been at the forefront of this new method, applying online behavioural experiments in his work as early as 2005. He will discuss his experiences with setting up the software, designing the experiments, collecting the data, and publishing the results in high quality journals in Accounting and BIS. To illustrate the effectiveness of online behavioural experiments, he will present the findings of two recent studies, one in Accounting and one in BIS. The Accounting study focuses on different presentation formats of financial statements as allowed under US GAAP and IFRS. The headline contribution here is that users, when exposed to the same company data in different formats, can form materially different opinions about the company and its management (an effect that IASB and FASB consider undesirable). The BIS study focuses on priming in user acceptance of software applications. The headline contribution here is that users, when successfully primed, can predictably reject a useful software application (an effect that current acceptance theories do not accommodate).

Prof. van der Heijden is a Professor of Accounting at the University of Sussex, specialising in accounting information systems. He has held academic positions in the Netherlands, Denmark, and the UK and previously worked for a Big 4 accountancy firm. His research interests are at the intersection of accounting and information systems, specifically the design and presentation of complex enterprise data for better decision making. Recent publications include the Journal of Information Systems, British Accounting Review, and Behavioral Research in Accounting. Prof. van der Heijden serves on the editorial board of Behavioral Research in Accounting and the European Journal of Information Systems. To date his work has been cited over 3200 times.

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