Presentation Title

Do NOT Take a Break! The Impact of Work Breaks on Managerial Accounting Task Performance: A Mixed-Methods Inquiry

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Breaks, Managerial Accounting, Error Detection, Working Memory Capacity

Department

Business Administration

Major

Finance

Abstract

Individuals take breaks on a majority of their workdays. This study explores the effect of these work breaks and the working memory capacity (WMC) levels of managers on managerial accounting task performance. To do this, we administer a survey to assess individuals’ stated break habits and then conduct an experiment to see if perceived benefits of breaks translate to reality. Most individuals believe that the majority of breaks taken are beneficial, rather than harmful, to work performance. However, when assessed together with WMC, low WMC participants who took a break between tasks did not perform better than those who did not take a break. Break taking was most beneficial to task performance for individuals with high WMC. Additionally, we find that in a managerial accounting setting, individuals with a high WMC may not receive the same benefit of increased levels of task performance as they do in other settings.

Faculty Mentor

Alyssa Ong

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative, Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Presentation Session

Session D

Start Date

23-4-2021 3:00 PM

End Date

23-4-2021 3:15 PM

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Apr 23rd, 3:00 PM Apr 23rd, 3:15 PM

Do NOT Take a Break! The Impact of Work Breaks on Managerial Accounting Task Performance: A Mixed-Methods Inquiry

Individuals take breaks on a majority of their workdays. This study explores the effect of these work breaks and the working memory capacity (WMC) levels of managers on managerial accounting task performance. To do this, we administer a survey to assess individuals’ stated break habits and then conduct an experiment to see if perceived benefits of breaks translate to reality. Most individuals believe that the majority of breaks taken are beneficial, rather than harmful, to work performance. However, when assessed together with WMC, low WMC participants who took a break between tasks did not perform better than those who did not take a break. Break taking was most beneficial to task performance for individuals with high WMC. Additionally, we find that in a managerial accounting setting, individuals with a high WMC may not receive the same benefit of increased levels of task performance as they do in other settings.