More Time, More Work: How Time Limits Bias Estimates of Project Duration and Scope

79 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2016

See all articles by Indranil Goswami

Indranil Goswami

University at Buffalo, SUNY - Department of Marketing

Oleg Urminsky

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

We propose that time limits systematically bias predictions of workers’ completion times, even when the limits are uninformative and cannot affect worker’s behavior. We show evidence for this bias in controlled laboratory studies and in a field survey. We find that longer time limits contribute to a misperception that the task involves more work, even for experienced managers making estimates in a familiar setting. This scope and duration bias has important behavioral implications, including an excessive preference for flat fee compensation contracts over contracts based on time spent working.

Keywords: Deadlines, Time Judgments, Scope Perception, Over-learned Response, Estimation Bias

Suggested Citation

Goswami, Indranil and Urminsky, Oleg, More Time, More Work: How Time Limits Bias Estimates of Project Duration and Scope (2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2733333 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2733333

Indranil Goswami

University at Buffalo, SUNY - Department of Marketing ( email )

Buffalo, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://mgt.buffalo.edu/faculty/academic-departments/marketing/faculty/indranil-goswami.html

Oleg Urminsky (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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