Graduate students as surrogates for managers in business intelligence and analytics research: a preliminary study

Yutong Song, David Arnott, Shijia Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Business intelligence and analytics (BI&A) research has been dominated by conceptual studies, simulations, and case studies, but as the field matures, experimentation is increasing. The use of students as surrogates for managers in experiments is a widespread practice in business research. Managers are difficult to recruit and organise for experimental sessions, adding to the time span and cost of a research project. This paper reports on an experiment where students and managers used a BI&A system to make simulated business decisions. The experiment is the first stage of a larger project. The study found that there were no significant differences between student and manager performance in terms of decision-making quality and efficiency, and they had similar perceptions of BI&A systems use. This paper provides preliminary evidence that high performing graduate students may be used as surrogates for managers for investigations concerning structured decisions that are supported by BI&A systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-304
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Decision Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • analytics
  • Business intelligence
  • experiments
  • student subjects
  • surrogates

Cite this