AN EXPERIMENTAL EVALUATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF UNCERTAINTY IN THE ENVIRONMENT TO INFORMATION USED BY DECISION MAKERS

Roger G. Schroeder, Izak Benbasat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper discusses the relationship between uncertainty in a decision making environment and the desired characteristics of information used for decision making. The work is aimed at providing a better understanding of the variables that affect the design of Management Information Systems. An experiment was conducted using an inventory simulator. The subjects could decide on inventory control variables and the amount and type of information to be used in monitoring system performance. The demand for inventory was an external random variable under the control of the experimenter. The experiment investigated how different demand variances affected the decision information used, the decisions made, and the resulting decision effectiveness (cost.) It was found that decision review frequency was not affected by demand variability. However, age and degree of summary of information used were greatly affected. Subjects exposed to high variability used data with a shorter history and a higher level of detail than those exposed to low variability. It was also found that the number of reports used increased from the low to middle variance group, then decreased at very high variance. Subjects tended to “give‐up” on their information system at high variance, and they relied on additional safety stock to prevent frequent stockouts. Finally, the correlation between the information used and decision effectiveness as measured by cost was low. This result was contrary to the subjects' beliefs that more and better information produced “better” decisions. It indicates that although variability may strongly affect preferences for different types of information, the information used may not in turn affect decision performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-567
Number of pages12
JournalDecision Sciences
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1975

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