Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Capstones

Date of this Version

8-9-2019

Document Type

Capstone

Abstract

In the corporate workplace employees are routinely asked to do analysis of impacts, outcomes, demographics, and economic opportunities just to name a few. While these projects vary greatly in regard to their subject matter, they also vary in terms of complexity. Some are straightforward with few moving parts while others entail dozens of confounding variables and noise. Knowing that humans are not able to treat problems systematically and without bias, we propose the question: how do complexity and behavioral biases interact? Using case studies from an analysis done at an eCommerce company located in the Mountain West, this research found that different levels of complexity lend themselves to different behavioral biases. Complex problems create an environment where employees are more susceptible to creative interpretation, social pressure, and incentives. Less complex problems leave less room for creative interpretation but create situations where assumptions and findings are overstated.

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Date Posted: 29 November 2019