Graduate Business Students as Surrogates for Executives in the Evaluation of Technology

Graduate Business Students as Surrogates for Executives in the Evaluation of Technology

Robert Owen Briggs (University of Arizona, USA), Pierre A. Balthazard (University of Arizona, USA) and Alan R. Dennis (University of Georgia, USA)
Copyright: © 1996 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/joeuc.1996100102
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Abstract

It is difficult to do rigorous empirical testing of new technologies for executives. They are highly paid, busy people with little motivation to evaluate unproven software. Many studies have shown that undergraduates are poor surrogates for executives and managers, but the evidence is not clear one way or the other about business graduate students. It may be that social differences (age group, role, status, authority, accumulated wealth, income, etc.) among graduate business students would cause them to evaluate new technologies very differently. On the other hand, it may be that as future executives, business graduate students are a self selected group who can adequately generalize to executives when evaluating technology. This paper describes a study which attempts to shed light on this issue by comparing the reactions of graduate business students and working executives to an electronic meeting system. The study reveals no significant differences in technology evaluation between the graduate business students and senior executives. The presumed social differences between graduate business students and executives did not cause them to evaluate the technologies differently. The study suggests that one can get a conservative estimate of the reactions of executives to new technology by testing it with graduate business students.

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