What-if analysis and the illusion of control

Fred D. Davis, Jeffrey E. Kottemann, William E. Remus

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The present research hypothesizes that what-if analysis creates an "illusion of control" which causes people to overestimate its effectiveness. The study reported below found that what-if analysis improved performance for about half of the subjects and degraded performance for the rest in a simulated production scheduling task. However, all subjects but one reported believing what-if to be beneficial to their decision performance. Erroneous beliefs persisted in the face of outcome feedback showing inferior performance when what-if analysis was used. In light of other research linking user acceptance to users' performance perceptions, these results indicate the potential for sustained but dysfunctional use of whatif analysis due to overconfidence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number184174
Pages (from-to)452-460
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
StatePublished - 1991
Event24th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 1991 - Kauai, United States
Duration: Jan 8 1991Jan 11 1991


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