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Role thinking: Standing in other people's shoes to forecast decisions in conflicts

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  • Green, Kesten C.
  • Armstrong, J. Scott

Abstract

When forecasting decisions in conflict situations, experts are often advised to figuratively stand in the other person's shoes. We refer to this as "role thinking", because, in practice, the advice is to think about how other protagonists will view the situation in order to predict their decisions. We tested the effect of role thinking on forecast accuracy. We obtained 101 role-thinking forecasts of the decisions that would be made in nine diverse conflicts from 27 Naval postgraduate students (experts) and 107 role-thinking forecasts from 103 second-year organizational behavior students (novices). The accuracy of the novices' forecasts was 33% and that of the experts' was 31%; both were little different from chance (guessing), which was 28%. The small improvement in accuracy from role-thinking strengthens the finding from earlier research that it is not sufficient to think hard about a situation in order to predict the decisions which groups of people will make when they are in conflict. Instead, it is useful to ask groups of role players to simulate the situation. When groups of novice participants adopted the roles of protagonists in the aforementioned nine conflicts and interacted with each other, their group decisions predicted the actual decisions with an accuracy of 60%.

Suggested Citation

  • Green, Kesten C. & Armstrong, J. Scott, 2011. "Role thinking: Standing in other people's shoes to forecast decisions in conflicts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 69-80, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:27:y::i:1:p:69-80
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Armstrong, J. Scott, 2007. "Significance Tests Harm Progress in Forecasting," MPRA Paper 81664, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Green, Kesten C., 2002. "Forecasting decisions in conflict situations: a comparison of game theory, role-playing, and unaided judgement," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, pages 321-344.
    3. Kesten C. Green & J. Scott Armstrong, 2004. "Value of Expertise For Forecasting Decisions in Conflicts," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 27/04, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
    4. Green, Kesten C. & Armstrong, J. Scott, 2007. "Structured analogies for forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, pages 365-376.
    5. Armstrong, J. Scott, 2007. "Significance tests harm progress in forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, pages 321-327.
    6. Richard M. Cyert & James G. March & William H. Starbuck, 1961. "Two Experiments on Bias and Conflict in Organizational Estimation," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 254-264.
    7. Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1337-1343.
    8. Green, Kesten C., 2005. "Game theory, simulated interaction, and unaided judgement for forecasting decisions in conflicts: Further evidence," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, pages 463-472.
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    Cited by:

    1. de Villiers, Rouxelle & Woodside, Arch G. & Marshall, Roger, 2016. "Making tough decisions competently: Assessing the value of product portfolio planning methods, devil’s advocacy, group discussion, weighting priorities, and evidenced-based information," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 2849-2862.
    2. Wright, George & Rowe, Gene, 2011. "Group-based judgmental forecasting: An integration of extant knowledge and the development of priorities for a new research agenda," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-13, January.
    3. Winkler, Jens & Moser, Roger, 2016. "Biases in future-oriented Delphi studies: A cognitive perspective," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, pages 63-76.
    4. repec:eee:intfor:v:27:y:2011:i:1:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Green, Kesten C. & Armstrong, J. Scott, 2015. "Simple versus complex forecasting: The evidence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(8), pages 1678-1685.
    6. Önkal, Dilek & Zeynep Sayım, K. & Lawrence, Michael, 2012. "Wisdom of group forecasts: Does role-playing play a role?," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 693-702.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Combining forecasts Evaluating forecasts Expert judgment Group decision making Organizational behavior Perspective-taking Role playing Simulated interaction Unaided judgment;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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