This paper shows how the manufacturing department of a multinational company (MNC) attempts to capture sales forecast data. These sales estimates are meant to reduce uncertainty on future production rates.
The first research question is: May sales forecast data be trusted or not? Reliable sales forecast data would improve corporate performance by reducing inventory and showcase the benefit of the cooperation between manufacturing and sales. The second research question and at the same time the header of this paper is whether cultural differences have an impact on forecast quality or not.
We have tapped two sources of literature to find adequate theories: One is the literature on information quality (IQ). It defines the dimensions of IQ and describes methods how these dimensions may be measured. The other source is literature on cultural influences on information and its interpretation.
The case study itself consists of an anonymized data set created in the context of a consulting project. We correlated subjective probability estimates with objectively measured won/loss rates and applied the concept of calibration.
The estimate bias among the eleven investigated countries widely varied. While the majority of Western countries were over-confident on the outcome of sales opportunities the majority of East Asian countries was under-confident. Both the outcome of this case study and literature suggest that both a well-founded shared understanding and the application of adequate calibration are necessary to guarantee the objectivity and believability of information.
Keywords: Information quality, Cultural influences, Calibration.