No decision-maker is an Island: integrating expert advice with information acquisition



The present research examined the social context of information acquisition. The main purpose was to examine how decision-makers' information acquisition processes changed when they were provided access to expert advice. Results indicated that all decision-makers opted to acquire advice; however, they typically did so only after completing over 75% of their own information search. Decision-makers agreed more with the advice as task complexity increased, but, in general, searched information in two stages—i.e., a pre-advice “hypothesis generation” stage and a post-advice “hypothesis testing” stage. To behave in an adaptive manner, decision-makers could have used expert advice either to increase their decision accuracy or to reduce their effort expenditure (or both); they chose the former. Implications and further extensions are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.