Humans Are Not Machines: The Behavioral Impact of Queueing Design on Service Time

37 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2014 Last revised: 15 Jun 2016

See all articles by Masha Shunko

Masha Shunko

Foster School of Business, University of Washington

Julie Niederhoff

Syracuse University

Yaroslav Rosokha

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Date Written: June 1, 2016

Abstract

Using behavioral experiments, we study the impact of queue design on worker productivity in service systems that involve human servers. Specifically, we consider two queue design features: queue structure, which can either be parallel queues (multiple queues with a dedicated server per queue) or a single queue (a pooled queue served by multiple servers); and queue-length visibility, which can provide either full or blocked visibility. We find that 1) the single-queue structure slows down the servers, illustrating a drawback of pooling; and 2) poor visibility of the queue length slows down the servers; however, this effect may be mitigated, or even reversed, by pay schemes that incentivize the servers for fast performance. We provide additional managerial insights by isolating two behavioral drivers behind these results – task interdependence and saliency of feedback.

Keywords: Behavioral Operations, Queueing Systems, Service Time

Suggested Citation

Shunko, Masha and Niederhoff, Julie and Rosokha, Yaroslav, Humans Are Not Machines: The Behavioral Impact of Queueing Design on Service Time (June 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2479342 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2479342

Masha Shunko (Contact Author)

Foster School of Business, University of Washington ( email )

PACCAR Hall
Seattle, WA 47185
United States

Julie Niederhoff

Syracuse University ( email )

721 University Ave
WSOM 630
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Yaroslav Rosokha

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

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