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Effects of Outcome and Probabilistic Ambiguity on Managerial Choices

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  • Ho, Joanna L Y
  • Keller, L Robin
  • Keltyka, Pamela

Abstract

Information ambiguity is prevalent in organizations and likely influences management decisions. This study examines, given imprecise probabilities and outcomes, how managers make choices when they are provided with single-figure benchmarks. Seventy-nine MBA students completed two experiments. We found that, in a decision framed as a decision under certainty involving an ambiguous outcome, the majority of the subjects were ambiguity prone in the loss condition and switched to ambiguity aversion in the gain condition. However, in the presence of probabilistic ambiguity in a decision under risk, this expected switching pattern was shown only when the difference in riskiness between the two choice options (in the loss condition) was perceived to be relatively small. In a companion study, we used a written protocol approach to identify factors that affect decision makers' investment choices when faced with ambiguous outcomes. Protocols frequently mentioned that the ambiguous outcome option was risky, even in the case which was framed as a decision under certainty in the problem statement. In a decision under risk with ambiguous outcomes, the combination of probabilistic risk and outcome ambiguity was seen as even more risky. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Ho, Joanna L Y & Keller, L Robin & Keltyka, Pamela, 2002. "Effects of Outcome and Probabilistic Ambiguity on Managerial Choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 47-74, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:24:y:2002:i:1:p:47-74
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    Cited by:

    1. Irma Machielse & Danielle Timmermans & Peter Wakker, 2007. "The effects of statistical information on risk ambiguity attitudes, and on rational insurance decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00338, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Haisley, Emily C. & Weber, Roberto A., 2010. "Self-serving interpretations of ambiguity in other-regarding behavior," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 614-625, March.
    3. Ertambang Nahartyo & Intiyas Utami, 2014. "Keeping Self-Interest under Control: Effects of Procedural Fairness and Project Success Rate in a Cost-Reduction Context," The Japanese Accounting Review, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, vol. 4, pages 27-47, December.
    4. Sinitskaya, Ekaterina, 2014. "Computational modeling of an economy using elements of artificial intelligence," ISU General Staff Papers 201401010800005291, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Laure Cabantous, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion in the Field of Insurance: Insurers’ Attitude to Imprecise and Conflicting Probability Estimates," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 219-240, May.
    6. Lahno, Amrei M., 2014. "Social anchor effects in decision-making under ambiguity," Discussion Papers in Economics 20960, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    7. Menachem Brenner & Yehuda Izhakian & Orly Sade, 2011. "Ambiguity and Overconfidence," Working Papers 11-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    8. Laure Cabantous & Denis Hilton & Howard Kunreuther & Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2011. "Is imprecise knowledge better than conflicting expertise? Evidence from insurers’ decisions in the United States," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 211-232, June.
    9. Loïc Berger, 2014. "The Impact of Ambiguity Prudence on Insurance and Prevention," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-08, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    10. DeKay, Michael L. & Patiño-Echeverri, Dalia & Fischbeck, Paul S., 2009. "Distortion of probability and outcome information in risky decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 79-92, May.
    11. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2009. "Attitudes toward Uncertainty among the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 4225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Marcus Berliant & Hideo Konishi, 2005. "Salience: Agenda choices by competing candidates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 129-149, July.
    13. Diederik Aerts & Emmanuel Haven & Sandro Sozzo, 2016. "A Proposal to Extend Expected Utility in a Quantum Probabilistic Framework," Papers 1612.08583, arXiv.org.
    14. Ozlem Ozdemir, 2007. "Valuation of Self-Insurance and Self-Protection under Ambiguity: Experimental Evidence," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    15. Bethany J. Weber & Wah Pheow Tan, 2012. "Ambiguity aversion in a delay analogue of the Ellsberg Paradox," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(4), pages 383-389, July.
    16. Laure Cabantous & Denis Hilton, 2006. "De l'aversion à l'ambiguïté aux attitudes face à l'ambiguïté. Les apports d'une perspective psychologique en économie," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(2), pages 259-280.
    17. Peter P. Wakker & Daniëlle R. M. Timmermans & Irma Machielse, 2007. "The Effects of Statistical Information on Risk and Ambiguity Attitudes, and on Rational Insurance Decisions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(11), pages 1770-1784, November.
    18. Yitong Wang & Tianjun Feng & L. Keller, 2013. "A further exploration of the uncertainty effect," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 291-310, December.
    19. Mary Riddel & W. Shaw, 2006. "A theoretically-consistent empirical model of non-expected utility: An application to nuclear-waste transport," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 131-150, March.
    20. Joanna Ho & L. Keller & Pamela Keltyka, 2005. "How Do Information Ambiguity and Timing of Contextual Information Affect Managers’ Goal Congruence in Making Investment Decisions in Good Times vs. Bad Times?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 163-186, September.
    21. Aurélien Baillon & Laure Cabantous & Peter Wakker, 2012. "Aggregating imprecise or conflicting beliefs: An experimental investigation using modern ambiguity theories," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 115-147, April.

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