Data presentation form and efficiency in decision making
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis reviews relevant literature and presents the results of an exploratory experimental study to enhance the understanding of whether - and how - data presentation forms influence decision making effectiveness. 42 MBA students were exposed to decisions regarding the management of a summer restaurant covering a fivemonth period. This research differs from previous research in this area by examining the effects of the combined use of graphs and tables in decision tasks and the effects of access to decision aids. In addition to measurement of economic performance, level of information processing was measured using an index based on cognitive complexity theory. The results indicate that effective decision-makers need both presentation forms. Graphs give an overview of relationships between variables, while tables increase the understanding of details and provide the basis for further calculations. Also, tabular data seems to be necessary in order to obtain accuracy in complex tasks. The results also show that subjects presented with the tabular or graphic display form only, attempted to complement the presentations using the decision aids. This was particularly true for subjects solving a low-complexity task, and in a high-complexity task, for subjects well acquainted with the spreadsheet program.