Norms, Conformity, and Controls
Coauthor(s): William Tayler.
Research in behavioral economics suggests that, in addition to their traditional
incentive effects, formal control systems can influence psychological
motivations. We extend this literature by demonstrating experimentally that
formal controls directly influence people's sense of what behaviors are appropriate
in the setting (personal norms), and indirectly alter people's tendency
to conform to the behavior of those around them (descriptive norms).
These effects persist even after the controls are changed, so that the effects of
current controls can be strongly influenced by past control strength. Our results
support those who are incorporating psychological factors into principal agent
models (such as Fischer and Huddart ), and suggest that those
models should be further modified to incorporate correlations between personal
norms and conformity to descriptive norms.
Source: Journal of Accounting Research
Bloomfield, Robert, and William Tayler. "Norms, Conformity, and Controls." Journal of Accounting Research 49, no. 3 (June 2011): 753-790.