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Lazar Rakovic, Marton Sakal, & Vuk Vukovic


This paper is prompted by and based on earlier research into developers' overconfidence as one of the main causes of spreadsheet errors.

Similar to related research, the aim of the paper was to ascertain the existence of overconfidence, and then examine the possibility of its reduction by means of experimental treatment designed for the needs of the research. A quasi-experiment was conducted to this end, in which 62 students of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Novi Sad participated, divided into the experimental and control group.

Participants of both groups developed domain free spreadsheets in two iterations each. After the first iterations, students in the experimental group were subjected to experimental treatment: they attended lectures on spreadsheet errors taxonomies supported by real-life examples, and about spreadsheet best practices in the area of spreadsheet error prevention.

Results showed that spreadsheet developers who were informed about spreadsheet error taxonomies and spreadsheet best practices create more accurate spreadsheets and are less self-confident in terms of accuracy of their spreadsheets.


The wall problem
The wall problem

Students developed a spreadsheet for the Wall problem in two iterations. This is a domain free task, which does not require domain-specific knowledge from a specific area.

The image shows a possible solution for a bid for construction of a wall (according to Panko, 1996)


2019, Periodica Polytechnica Social and Management Sciences, Volume 27, Number 2, August, pages 119-130

Full article

Improvement of spreadsheet quality through reduction of end-user overconfidence: Case study