On the Pooling of Queues: How Server Behavior Affects Performance

31 Pages Posted: 15 May 2015 Last revised: 3 Sep 2015

See all articles by Hung Do

Hung Do

University of Vermont - School of Business Administration

Masha Shunko

Foster School of Business, University of Washington

Marilyn Lucas

University of Vermont

David Novak

Independent

Date Written: May 13, 2015

Abstract

It is widely accepted that multi-server single-queue (SQ) systems outperform multi-server parallel-queue (PQ) systems due to the pooling effect. However, humans are not machines, and the assumption that servers perform identically regardless of the queueing system, is not necessarily true in practice. In this paper, we investigate the impact of two human server behaviors - social loafing and workload-dependent speedup - and one physical factor - walking time - on the performance of the SQ and PQ systems. We develop theoretical models and comparatively analyze them with respect to three queueing performance measures: expected wait time, pre-service time, and total system time. We propose functional forms for social loafing and speedup effects and evaluate the performance of the models numerically. We find that social loafing worsens the performance of the SQ system. Server speedup improves performance of the PQ system. Moreover, this improvement is greater than the direct impact of a comparable average increase in the server's speed. We derive thresholds beyond which PQ outperform SQ systems for all three performance measures. Our findings provide managers with guidance in the design of their queueing operations and serve as a foundation for future research on service systems with behavioral elements.

Keywords: Service System Design, Single Queue System, Multiple Queue System, Workload-dependent Service Rate, Social Loafing

Suggested Citation

Do, Hung and Shunko, Masha and Lucas, Marilyn and Novak, David, On the Pooling of Queues: How Server Behavior Affects Performance (May 13, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2606071 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2606071

Hung Do

University of Vermont - School of Business Administration ( email )

Burlington, VT 05405
United States

Masha Shunko (Contact Author)

Foster School of Business, University of Washington ( email )

PACCAR Hall
Seattle, WA 47185
United States

Marilyn Lucas

University of Vermont ( email )

212 Kalkin Hall
Burlington, VT 05405-0158
United States

David Novak

Independent ( email )

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