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The Value of Decision Making in a Complex Environment: An Experimental Approach


  • Robin M. Hogarth

    (University of Chicago)

  • Spyros Makridakis

    (The European Institute of Business Administration, Fontainebleau, France)


Are the costs of time and effort spent on analyzing decisions outweighed by benefits? This issue was examined in the context of a competitive business game where human teams were pitted against two kinds of simple-minded arbitrary decision rules: one where rules were applied consistently ("arbitrary-consistent"); the other where rules were subject to a random component ("arbitrary-random"). The arbitrary-consistent rules outperformed, on average, 41% of human opponents, the corresponding figure for arbitrary-random being 19%. These results are discussed within the more general context of consistency in decision making which has received considerable attention in both the management and psychological literatures, albeit in the more restricted case of non-competitive and stable environments. Issues raised by the study include the use of automated and controlled baseline strategies to study decision making in complex situations, the need to develop normative guidelines for use in turbulent, competitive environments, and the multidimensional nature of the functions of decision making in organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Robin M. Hogarth & Spyros Makridakis, 1981. "The Value of Decision Making in a Complex Environment: An Experimental Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 93-107, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:27:y:1981:i:1:p:93-107

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    1. repec:cbu:jrnlec:y:2017:v:5:p:4-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bruce H. Clark & David B. Montgomery, 1998. "Deterrence, Reputations, and Competitive Cognition," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(1), pages 62-82, January.
    3. Gerrit H. van Bruggen & Ale Smidts & Berend Wierenga, 1998. "Improving Decision Making by Means of a Marketing Decision Support System," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(5), pages 645-658, May.
    4. Fildes, Robert & Nikolopoulos, Konstantinos, 2006. "Spyros Makridakis: An interview with the International Journal of Forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 625-636.
    5. Yuan Ding & Thomas Jeanjean & Cédric Lesage & Hervé Stolowy, 2009. "An Experiment in the Economic Consequences of Additional Disclosure: The Case of the Fair Value of Unlisted Equity Investments," Post-Print halshs-00458950, HAL.
    6. Sterman, John, 1987. "Misperceptions of feedback in dynamic decisionmaking," Working papers 1899-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    7. Sterman, John, 1987. "Modeling managerial behavior--misperceptions of feedback in a dynamic decisionmaking experiment," Working papers 1933-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    8. Paich, Mark. & Sterman, John., 1992. "Boom, bust and failures to learn in experimental markets," Working papers 3441-92., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    9. Rodgers, Waymond, 1999. "The influences of conflicting information on novices and loan officers' actions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 123-145, April.


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