Hello David
I have no training in Psychology,and I need help to characterize and understand the following related to risk:I work as a Chemical Engineer who services paper companies making paper packaging. The chemical I sell makes paper grease proof. Many of our customers overuse or chemical based on the folowing scenario.Paper Machine Operators determine the dosage used by turning a valve. Approx 1 hour later a sample of paper coated with the chemical is sent to test the finish roll of paper (it is a continuous process). QA technicians place drops of oil on the paper to determine the effectivenes of the dosage. They report a value, based on a set of standards of 1-10. Based on this value the operator either increases, decreases, or does nothing to the dosage.
The problem appears to be one of unbalanced incentives (or risk?). The operator risks very little to increase the dosage, it is easier to do than look at or change other process parameters. However, if he decreases the dosage and the rating of the test falls into reject the paper is rejected and he suffers the penalty. So he tends to overdose. In addition, the test is highly variable, so frequent changes are made, which on the average increase dosage. I guess it is somewhat like playing chicken. I am looking for anyway I can conceptulaize the problem to avoid the every increasing dosages. Your help is appreciated.