How to De-Bias Investment Judgement – Unpacking Bias and Possible Remedies in a Cap-Ital Investment Context
Posted: 14 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 7, 2020
Extant research shows that managerial decision-making can be biased. One bias that has received attention from the psychological literature yet very little attention from business research is the unpacking bias. This bias suggests that the perceived probability that an event will occur generally increases when the event’s description is unpacked into a dis-junction of sub-events. We conduct an experiment with experienced managers (N = 249) and hypothesize that for a capital investment decision context, managers’ judgement of the probability of a future event depends on whether the event is described as one packed event or is unpacked into several disjoint sub-events. Additionally, we propose that altering the format of the description of an event’s occurrence from percentage values to relative frequencies reduces the unpacking bias. The results are consistent with both hypotheses. We do not find that using explicit instructions as an additional de-biasing measure further improves judgement. Our results contribute to research on managerial biases and provide practical implications for the design of management reports that are used as an informational basis for investment decisions.
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