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Budget-Related Prediction Models in the Business Environment with Special Reference to Spot Price Predictions

Description: The purpose of this research is to study and improve decision accuracy in the real world. Spot price prediction of petroleum products, in a budgeting context, is the task chosen to study prediction accuracy. Prediction accuracy of executives in a multinational oil company is examined. The Brunswik Lens Model framework is used to evaluate prediction accuracy. Predictions of the individuals, the composite group (mathematical average of the individuals), the interacting group, and the environmental model were compared. Predictions of the individuals were obtained through a laboratory experiment in which experts were used as subjects. The subjects were required to make spot price predictions for two petroleum products. Eight predictor variables that were actually used by the subjects in real-world predictions were elicited through an interview process. Data for a 15 month period were used to construct 31 cases for each of the two products. Prediction accuracy was evaluated by comparing predictions with the actual spot prices. Predictions of the composite group were obtained by averaging the predictions of the individuals. Interacting group predictions were obtained ex post from the company's records. The study found the interacting group to be the least accurate. The implication of this finding is that even though an interacting group may be desirable for information synthesis, evaluation, or working toward group consensus, it is undesirable if prediction accuracy is critical. The accuracy of the environmental model was found to be the highest. This suggests that apart from random error, misweighting of cues by individuals and groups affects prediction accuracy. Another implication of this study is that the environmental model can also be used as an additional input in the prediction process to improve accuracy.
Date: August 1986
Creator: Kumar, Akhil
Partner: UNT Libraries