Role Plays Lead To Better Decisions

Role Plays Lead To Better Decisions

Researchers from the Wharton Business School and the International Graduate School of Business at the University of Adelaide have proved that role play scenarios which involve participants to figuratively stand in the other person’s shoes (what we call 2nd position) is significantly more effective in forecasting outcomes that the use of experts or merely thinking about the situation.

The researchers tested the effect of role thinking on forecast accuracy. They obtained 101 role-thinking forecasts of the decisions that would be made in nine diverse conflicts from 27 Naval postgraduate students (experts) and 107 role thinking forecasts from 103 second-year organizational behaviour students (novices). The accuracy of the novices’ forecasts was 33% and the experts’ 31%; both were little different from chance (guessing), which was 28%.

The lack of improvement in accuracy from role thinking alone strengthens the finding from earlier research that it is not sufficient to think hard about a situation in order to predict the decisions groups of people will make when they are in conflict. It is useful instead to ask groups of role players to simulate the situation.

When groups of novice participants adopted the roles of protagonists in the aforementioned nine conflicts and interacted with each other via role plays, their group decisions predicted the actual decisions with an accuracy of 60%.

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