Time estimates are an important part of many costing systems. As they may be subject to estimation error and hence result in measurement error in product and service costs, it is important to understand the sources of this estimation error as well as mechanisms to mitigate them. We performed a computer-based lab experiment to test the joint impact of task interruption and interactive time estimation on the accuracy of time estimates. As predicted, we find that the negative impact of task interruption on time estimation accuracy is mitigated when participants are allowed to interactively discuss their time estimates before making a final time estimate alone. We explain our findings through the underlying effects of cognitive load and confidence. Hence, managers may improve the accuracy of their time-based costing systems by enabling an interactive time estimation process to offset the detrimental effect of task interruption.
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Maussen, S., & Hoozée, S. (2020). On the influence of task interruption and interactive time estimation on estimation error in time-based costing systems. European Accounting Review.
This article is also included in the second chapter of Sophie Maussen’s doctoral dissertation.