Expert Advice in Technology Evaluations: The Role of Breadth and Depth Diversity of Expertise



This study explores the contingencies related to the contribution of domain expert advice to the accuracy of technology evaluations, focusing on the diversity of expertise between evaluators (advice takers) and experts (advice givers). While prior research suggests both positive and negative effects of diversity of expertise on the accuracy of collective evaluations, we argue that these conflicting effects can be reconciled by distinguishing diversity across two distinct dimensions of expertise, namely breadth diversity and depth diversity. Results from empirical tests of a large dataset of technology evaluations made at a Fortune 500 ITC firm support our arguments and offer three primary findings. First, when both firm’s evaluators and experts possessed high (low) depth of expertise in a technology and thus depth diversity is low, the contribution of experts’ advice is to increase (decrease) over-estimation – i.e. Type I errors - and decrease (increase) under-estimation – i.e. Type II errors. Second, the occurrence of both Type I and II errors is reduced when depth diversity is high, implying, counterintuitively, that evaluators with large depth of expertise benefit from the advice of experts with relatively less experience with that technology. Finally, these effects are contingent on breath diversity, such that evaluation accuracy is lower when both breadth and depth diversity are high, but high breadth diversity is beneficial when depth diversity is low. Collectively, these findings show that the contribution of expert advice on technology evaluations cannot be characterized in terms of a single dimension of expertise diversity as it depends on both breadth and depth diversity.

This seminar will take place in T09-67. Alternatively, see below to join online:

Meeting ID: 963 6232 4008