Restrictiveness and guidance in support systems

Paul Goodwin, Robert Fildes, Michael Lawrence, Greg Stephens

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Restrictiveness and guidance have been proposed as methods for improving the performance of users of support systems. In many companies computerized support systems are used in demand forecasting enabling interventions based on management judgment to be applied to statistical forecasts. However, the resulting forecasts are often 'sub-optimal' because many judgmental adjustments are made when they are not required. An experiment was used to investigate whether restrictiveness or guidance in a support system leads to more effective use of judgment. Users received statistical forecasts of the demand for products that were subject to promotions. In the restrictiveness mode small judgmental adjustments to these forecasts were prohibited (research indicates that these waste effort and may damage accuracy). In the guidance mode users were advised to make adjustments in promotion periods, but not to adjust in non-promotion periods. A control group of users were not subject to restrictions and received no guidance. The results showed that neither restrictiveness nor guidance led to improvements in accuracy. While restrictiveness reduced unnecessary adjustments, it deterred desirable adjustments and also encouraged over-large adjustments so that accuracy was damaged. Guidance encouraged more desirable system use, but was often ignored. Surprisingly, users indicated it was less acceptable than restrictiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalOmega-International Journal of Management Science
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • sales promotions
  • guidance
  • restrictiveness
  • judgmental forecasting
  • system design


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