Facts and Feelings behind Investment Decisions in Road Transportation
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Investointipäätökseen vaikuttavat faktat ja tuntemukset maaliikenteessä
The conventional approach in economics has assumed business decisions to follow rational and logical reasoning. Management accounting (MA) has been defined as information, which is designed to enable rational decision makers to make optimal decisions. However, the recent MA literature has shown that managerial decisions rely also on feeling and intuition. Institution theory has been applied to illustrate the observed bounded rationality in organizations, but it does not explain why and when investment discussions culminate to investment actions. More research is needed to understand the decision making process in organizations and how the intertwined facts and feelings of the decision affect the process. When the influence of fact and feeling driven criteria in decisions is recognized, the actual role of MA in decision making must be reconsidered. Alternative fuel vehicle investments offer a complex and appealing context to study the topic, as the investment discussions are influenced by a diverse set of facts and feelings ranging from fuel cost savings to environmental values. The thesis focused particularly on the engagement of facts and feelings related to investment decisions on natural and bio gas vehicles. The topic was covered by creating a framework explaining the interaction of facts and feelings in decision making process. It also described how the discussions eventually lead to actual investment behaviour and how to recognize the role of MA in the process. The research material was gathered through an interventionist case study setting by creating MA tools for a case company and interviewing B2B customers about their natural gas vehicle investment decisions. The findings contributed to the discussion on factors affecting investment decisions in road transportation. The study suggests that the investment decision requires both a factual grounding and support from the decision maker’s values in order to form a real investment possibility. The fact and feeling driven decision criteria varies with the nature of the investment. Therefore, also the role of MA is different depending on the hierarchy of the criteria. Calculations alone do not determinate the outcome of the investment decision in the road transportation context.