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    Faculty Research

    Updated Dec. 2, 2020

    Professor Christina Rader had the following article accepted for publication in Management Science. 

    Citation: Soll, J.B., Palley, A., Rader, C.A. (forthcoming). The bad thing about good advice: Understanding when and how advice exacerbates overconfidence. Management Science.

    Abstract: Much research on advice taking examines how people revise point estimates given input from others. This work has established that people often egocentrically discount advice. If they were to place more weight on advice, their point estimates would be more accurate. Yet the focus on point estimates and accuracy has resulted in a narrow conception of what it means to heed advice. We distinguish between revisions of point estimates and revisions of attendant probability distributions. Point estimates represent a single best guess; distributions represent the probabilities that people assign to all possible answers. A more complete picture of advice taking is provided by considering revisions of distributions, which reflect changes in both confidence and best guesses. We capture this using a new measure of advice utilization, the Influence of Advice. We observe that when input from a high-quality advisor largely agrees with a person’s initial opinion, it engenders little change in one’s point estimate, and hence little change in accuracy, yet significantly increases confidence. This pattern suggests more advice taking than generally suspected. However, it is not necessarily beneficial. Because people are typically overconfident to begin with, receiving advice that agrees with their initial opinion can exacerbate overconfidence. In several experiments, we manipulate advisor quality and measure the extent to which advice agrees with a person’s initial opinion. The results allow us to pinpoint circumstances in which heeding advice is beneficial, improving accuracy or reducing overconfidence, as well as circumstances in which it is harmful, hurting accuracy or exacerbating overconfidence.


    Professor Kat Miller-Stevens won the Best Governance Research Paper Award with her co-author at the annual conference of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the largest nonprofit studies conference in the US. Find citation here.

    Paper Title: Public Service Motivation Among Nonprofit Board Members and the Influence of Primary Sector of Employment 

    Journal: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

    Co-Author: Kevin Ward, PhD, Associate Professor, Seattle University

    Abstract: Although considerable research has developed exploring effective management of nonprofit boards of directors, there is limited understanding of the motivations of nonprofit board members to serve on boards. Using a sample of nearly 700 nonprofit board members, this study examines antecedent conditions and dimensions of public service motivation (PSM) as they apply to nonprofit board members and the differences in levels of PSM between board members who have worked primarily in the nonprofit, public, or private sectors. Board members with primary employment in the public sector show the highest levels of PSM. This study illustrates that nonprofit board members who work in the private sector exhibit fewer values associated with public service motivation. Other variables that predict public service motivation among board members include gender, level of education, and formal volunteering activity, among several others.