Development and Validation of a Noise in Decision Inventory for Organizational Settings

Sara Bollarino, Andrea Ceschi, Michele Monti, Riccardo Sartori
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 26  •  2023  •  pp. 173-189

The aim of the present paper is to present a Noise Decision (ND) scale. First, it reports the development and validation of the instrument aimed at examining organizational factors that have an influence on decision-making and the level of noise. Second, it validates this rating scale by testing its discriminant and convergent validity with other measures to assess decision-making qualities.

According to the literature, the concept of noise is the unwanted variability present in judgments. The notion of noise concerns the systematic influence to which individuals are exposed in their environment. The literature in the field has found that noise reduction improves the perception of work performance.

The first study involves the development of a scale (composed of 36 items) consisting of semi-structured interviews, item development, and principal component analysis. The second study involves validation and convergent validity of this scale. In the first study, there were 43 employees from three medium-sized Italian multinationals. For the second study, a sample of 867 subjects was analysed.

This paper introduces the first scale aimed at assessing noise within individuals and, in the organizational context, within employees and employers.

Results show that the estimated internal reliability for each of the ND subscales and also the correlations between the subscales were relatively low, suggesting that ND correctly measures the analyzed components. Furthermore, the validation of the psychometric qualities of the ND allowed for the assertion that the influence of noise is present in the decision-making process within the context of work environments, validating the initial hypotheses.

This paper aims to improve theory and research on decision-making; for example, by providing a possible implementation for scales for evaluating decision-making skills. Furthermore, detecting and limiting noise with a systematic method could improve both the quality of decisions and the quality of thought processes.

Given the measurement of ND, the study can be a starting point for future research on this topic. Since there is no literature about this construct, it would be necessary to spend more time researching, so that the topic becomes clearer. System noise has been tested by some researchers with a “noise audit,” which means giving the same problem to different people and measuring the differences in their responses. Repeating this kind of audit in conjunction with the ND in a specific work environment could be helpful to detect but also measure the influence of noise.

noise, decision-making, validation, heuristics & biases
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