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Using Laboratory Experiments to Build Better Operations Management Models

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1 Author(s)

Using Laboratory Experiments to Build Better Operations Management Models focuses on controlled laboratory experiments used to test existing, and develop new, theory in operations management. Much of the methodology I discuss is in line with economics rather than psychology, which also provide a valid and useful, but different, paradigm. This monograph is organized as follows. Section 2 presents a short history of experimental economics, focusing specifically on some fundamental games that proved to be important in economics as well as in behavioral operations management. Section 3 discusses some basics of experimental design as well as "best practices" for conducting laboratory experiments. This section reviews issues related to providing a context, the effect of subject pool, the effect of incentives, and the uses of deception. The goal of sections 4, 5, and 6 to is outline how experiments have been used to shed light on behavioral factors within three different operational contexts -- the behavior in the Newsvendor problem (section 4), supply chain contracts (section 5), and procurement auctions (section 6). Section 7 concludes with a discussion of future trends and promising directions for future research.