Monday, May 02, 2005

I'm dubious

Photon Courier and Chapomatic are discussing analogies and strategic decision-making in light of a recent HBR article. Good posts that are well worth reading.

I'm not quite sold on the experiment they discuss. Like many such exercises, it used college students (the fruit flies of social science research) instead of veteran decision-makers. It is quite a stretch to think that inexperienced amateurs in an experiment will behave just like experienced professionals who have to live with the consequences of their recommendations in the real world.

Further, I think the results of the experiment are open to various interpretations. The HBR authors conclude that:
Not only were the students swayed by superficial likenesses, they were not even aware that they had been swayed

A cynic might look at the outcomes and conclude that modern college students will tailor their responses to the cues their professors give them. If asked if they did so, they will piously deny that they would ever even consider such a thing.

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