Field Experiment on the Profit Implications of Merchants’ Discretionary Power to Override Data- Driven Decision-Making Tools

24 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Saravanan Kesavan

Saravanan Kesavan

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Tarun Kushwaha

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

Data-driven decision-making (DDD) is rapidly transforming modern operations. The availability of Big Data, advances in data analytics tool, and rapid gains in processing power enable firms to make decisions based on data, rather than intuition. Yet, most firms still allow managers to override decisions from DDD tools, as managers might possess private information not present in the DDD tool. We conduct a field-experiment at an automobile spare-parts retailer to examine the profit implications of providing discretionary power to managers. We find that managers’ overrides significantly reduce the profitability of decisions made by the DDD tool. However, our analysis over a product’s life cycle (PLC) reveals that for growth- (mature- & decline-) stage products, the retail merchants outperform (under-perform) the DDD tool.

Keywords: Data-Driven Decision Making, Algorithm-Centered Decision Making, Managerial Discretion/ Exception, Big-Data, Field Experiment, Private Information, Product Life Cycle

Suggested Citation

Kesavan, Saravanan and Kushwaha, Tarun, Field Experiment on the Profit Implications of Merchants’ Discretionary Power to Override Data- Driven Decision-Making Tools (May 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3619085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3619085

Saravanan Kesavan (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

300 Kenan Center Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

Tarun Kushwaha

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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