Performance impact of the elimination of direct labor variance reporting: A field study

Rajiv D. Banker, Sarv Devaraj, Roger G. Schroeder, Kingshuk K. Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Using a field study approach, we examine two competing perspectives on direct labor variance reporting: some argue that direct labor variance reporting is costly and cumbersome, and should be eliminated; whereas others contend that without direct labor variance information, managers will not be able to monitor workers effectively, causing workers to shirk and worker productivity to decline. Specifically, we investigate the productivity and quality impacts of eliminating direct labor variance reporting with panel data containing 36 months of data from seven experimental plants that eliminated direct labor variance reporting and 11 control plants that did not. The experimental plants experienced a significant decline in labor productivity compared to the control plants. Also, the experimental plants showed an improvement in product quality, indicating that workers reallocate their efforts to other tasks as a result of the change in the information set available to evaluate them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1036
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Accounting Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2002

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