Task Master or Task Novice: An Abstract on a Strategic Decision-Making Experiment
Experienced managers have long been trusted to make important decisions over less experienced staff, yet not all decisions are the same. Some decisions (decomposable tasks, e.g., mathematical problems) can be broken down into smaller parts, but others (non-decomposable, e.g., the quality of artwork) are more difficult to break down into their constituent parts. The literature remains divided over the superiority of expertise in relation to such tasks, especially when individuals are encouraged to use different analytic methods (intuitive, critical, or introspective). This study throws further light on decision-making by conducting an experiment using two samples: (1) senior advertising and marketing managers (experts) and (2) a cross section of consumers (novices). These two samples were set two strategic advertising tasks: print advertisement quality evaluation and advertising channel selection, both common tasks in marketing communications practice. Respondents performed these tasks under experimental conditions manipulating the analysis method. The findings suggest managers have significant advantage when it comes to decomposable tasks, yet they have no advantage over novices with non-decomposable tasks. Also, those afforded an introspective analysis performed poorer in non-decomposable tasks, but this effect disappears with decomposable tasks. We close with some implications for future research.
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