We study how and why model-based Decision Support Systems (DSSs) influence managerial decision making, in the context of marketing budgeting and resource allocation. We consider several questions: (1) What does it mean for a DSS to be "good?"; (2) What is the relationship between an anchor or reference condition, DSS-supported recommendation and decision quality? (3) How does a DSS influence the decision process, and how does the process influence outcomes? (4) Is the effect of the DSS on the decision process and outcome robust, or context specific? We test hypotheses about the effects of DSSs in a controlled experiment with two award winning DSSs and find that, (1) DSSs improve users' objective decision outcomes (an index of likely realized revenue or profit); (2) DSS users often do not report enhanced subjective perceptions of outcomes; (3) DSSs, that provide feedback in the form of specific recommendations and their associated projected benefits had a stronger effect both on the decision making process and on the outcomes. Our results suggest that although managers actually achieve improved outcomes from DSS use, they may not perceive that the DSS has improved the outcomes. Therefore, there may be limited interest in managerial uses of DSSs, unless they are designed to: (1) encourage discussion (e.g., by providing explanations and support for the recommendations), (2) provide feedback to users on likely marketplace results, and (3) help reduce the perceived complexity of the problem so that managers will consider more alternatives and invest more cognitive effort in searching for improved outcomes.

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Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Lilien, G., Rangaswamy, A., Starke, K., & van Bruggen, G. (2001). How and Why Decision Models Influence Marketing Resource Allocations (No. ERS-2001-33-MKT). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/94