Spring 2008 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, March 7, 2008

Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Isenberg School of Management, Room 112

Speaker: Professor Jenna Marquard

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
  University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Biography: Jenna Marquard joined the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in January 2008 as an Assistant Professor. She received a BS in Industrial Engineering in May 2003 from the University of Iowa with a focus on information systems design and her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2007. During her studies at Wisconsin, she broadly focused on how information technology can be meaningfully applied to health care problems, specifically on the creation of sustainable health information exchange networks. Realizing the potential usefulness of analytic  models to aid decision-makers facing complex problems in health care and elsewhere, her interest has turned towards how technical models can be conveyed in understandable ways to non-technical decision-makers.

TITLE: The Decision to Use an Analysis is a Decision Process in Itself: How a Business Framework Can Help Us Rigorously Study
this Process

Abstract: Decision-makers are challenged by complex decisions that their wisdom or mental models may not be able to cope with. While analytical tools hold promise in aiding decision-makers by more comprehensively structuring and organizing information for the decision-maker, there is often a gap between the outputs of these analyses and what decision-makers find useful. The continued presence of the judgmental gap suggests that the scientific rigor used by researchers to refine their analytic tools could be used to systematically evaluate and improve how analytic tools are received and used, thereby aiding the work of analytical practitioners.

A systematic study of how analytic tools are received or used must not focus solely on the presentation of analyses to decision-makers as presentation is only important if the decision-maker decides to use the analysis in their decision-making. The decision to use an analysis is a decision process in itself. This talk outlines the importance of understanding the decision-making process surrounding the use of an analysis.

The consumer buying-decision process may be a useful way to understand this decision process, with analysts as suppliers of analytic tools and decision-makers as potential consumers of those tools. This talk also describes the importance of the decision-makers’ post-purchase-behavior, or what occurs after they have decided to use an analytical tool in their decision-making. This post-purchase-behavior stage addresses the need for analysts to engage the decision-maker in the analytical process and convey the analysis in an understandable way. Attending to this decision-making process is valuable for analysts who hope to better understand what factors might impact whether and how a decision-maker decides to use an analysis.
This series is organized by the UMASS Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. Support for this series is provided by the Isenberg School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations Management, INFORMS, and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund.

For questions, please contact the INFORMS Student Chapter Speaker Series Coordinator, Ms. Trisha Woolley, twoolley@som.umass.edu