Optimism bias, strategic misinterpretation and reference class forecasting

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Multi-National corporations completing large-scale projects face potential high overruns and potential overestimation on initial budgets. Through these, sometimes unrealized setbacks the corporations are not operating at maximum possible efficiency. This can happen through a number of factors such as a poor allocation of resources, lacking a sufficient standard of managerial skills and Optimism Bias or Strategic misinterpretation.

A Danish geographer by name of Bent Flyvbjerg did extensive research into cost overrun and benefit shortfall of major projects, with additional studies into hypothetical solutions. Through his investigation, Flyvbjerg realised that the cost and benefit shortfall of major projects could be better understood by filtering the wide topic into two sub-topics, Optimism Bias and Strategic Misrepresentation. Through further analysis into the study area, a possible solution to this problem was Reference Class Forecasting approach (RCF). RCF approach helps by providing a less skewed and opinionated view on a specific subject by using the 'Outside View' instead of the flawed 'Inside View'. The over-arching goal is to reduce cost overrun and benefit shortfall by engaging all aspects to increase forecasting accuracy.

Through reading this article, a clear and succinct explanation of the strategies and ideas discussed above will be discussed. A brief analysis will be given on how it is used in business practice to increase efficiency and a detailed paragraph of the studies' limitations as a theory will also be covered.


Background Information on Flyrbergs danish theory

Optimisim Bias

Strategic Misinterpretation

Reference Class Forecasting

Business Practise






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