ABSTRACT Past research suggests that problem solving and/or decision behavior can be altered and improved by the changes in the way information is accessed and displayed. Also, researchers have found that the usefulness of different information display formats are contingent on the characteristics of the problem task. This research investigated the impact on problem solving when accessing and using information from linear and nonlinear systems. Also, the research investigated problem‐solving performance of linear and nonlinear systems when applied to different combinations of problem tasks. In a laboratory setting, linear and nonlinear systems were developed to conduct this experiment. This experiment used 64 graduate business students in a two‐factor repeated‐measures design employing a multivariate analysis of variance to analyze the data. Repeated measures were conducted to analyze the experimental group under both linear and nonlinear treatments. The findings from the study support the notion that the nonlinear system resulted in superior problem solving and higher levels of user satisfaction than the linear system. Specifically, the nonlinear system enabled users to make faster and more accurate decisions on perceptual problem tasks than did the linear system. For analytical problem tasks, users performed faster with the nonlinear system; however, there was no significant difference in accuracy. User satisfaction was higher with the nonlinear system under both perceptual and analytical tasks.
Decision Sciences – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1997
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