Managerial Optimism in a Competitive Market

Production and Operations Management, 2018

60 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2018

See all articles by Baojun Jiang

Baojun Jiang

Washington University in Saint Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Chang Liu

Washington University in St. Louis

Date Written: September 9, 2018

Abstract

Research has shown that many managers and entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic and are inclined to believe that negative shocks happen to them less frequently than to others. However, there is also evidence suggesting that such optimism is often inaccurate in reality and managerial optimism can lead to the failure of a company. We develop a game-theoretic model to investigate the impact of managerial optimism on firms’ performance in a competitive market. Our analysis shows that a manager’s optimism about demand can increase the firm’s profit. Moreover, only one firm having managerial optimism can be win-win for both firms in a duopoly, because it can increase the level of product quality differentiation between the firms, alleviating price competition. However, if both firms have optimistic managers, the benefit of increased differentiation disappears, and firms are weakly worse off, compared with the case of both firms having realistic managers. Our research suggests that a firm should hire a realistic manager when managerial optimism is already pervasive in a competitive market.

Keywords: Optimism, Behavioral Economics, Pricing, Quality, Pessimism, Managerial Bias, Competitive Strategy

JEL Classification: D21, D43, D91

Suggested Citation

Jiang, Baojun and Liu, Chang, Managerial Optimism in a Competitive Market (September 9, 2018). Production and Operations Management, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3242238

Baojun Jiang (Contact Author)

Washington University in Saint Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1156
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
3149353315 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://apps.olin.wustl.edu/faculty/Jiang/

Chang Liu

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

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