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Unformatted text preview: vestigate the
relationship between the use of decision analysis tools and concepts and
In the first situation, the researcher takes a random sample of companies who use
decision analysis and a second sample that do not. The performance of each is then
monitored, and the researcher notes whether those organisations that use decision
analysis score more highly than those companies that do not. In this situation, the use
of decision analysis techniques and concepts is an attribute of each company taking
part in the study; it is inseparably attached to each of the companies. With such a
study, it is not possible to establish a causal relation between the use of decision
analysis tools and concepts and organisational performance but only that there is an
association between them. Thus, if a difference is found between the two samples,
the researcher is not entitled to say that using decision analysis techniques and
principles makes organisations perform better. It is quite possible in such a study that
the association could be caused by other traits or environmental factors that
predispose an organisation that uses many decision analysis techniques and concepts
to perform better. In fact, it is not even possible in such a study to rule out the
possibility of good organisational performance causing organisations to use more
decision analysis tools and concepts. Such studies are known as correlational studies.
In the second situation, the researcher controls the number of decision analysis
techniques and concepts used by organisations. The degree of usage of decision
analysis tools and ideas is a treatment rather than an attribute. The researcher takes a
random sample from the population of interest and randomly assigns each company to
one of two groups. The members of one group are given sophisticated and numerous
159 decision analysis techniques and concepts to use, and the others given relatively
unsophisticated and few decision analysis tools and ideas. After a certain amount of
time using their tools and concepts, the organisations’ performance is noted. Then,
even if there were, for example, certain traits that cause companies to utilise many and
sophisticated decision analysis techniques and to perform well, these would balance
out by the random assignment of the companies to the two treatments. In this case, if
the users of sophisticated and numerous decision analysis techniques and principles
performed well, then this would indicate the use of decision analysis as the cause.
Thus, in the second situation, the researcher would be entitled to draw causal
conclusions, while in the first they would not. This type of study is known as an
experimental study (Leach, 1979, pp19-20).
In this case, an experimental study is impossible. This would involve finding a group
of companies in the upstream who would be willing to be assigned at random to either
using decision analysis techniques or concepts or not, on a long-term basis. Given the
intensity of the competition between the organisations that operate in the oil industry,
one group of companies (and their shareholders) are not likely to accept that the other
group may experience better organisational...
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This document was uploaded on 03/30/2014.
- Summer '14
- The Land