The real options method applied to decision making – an investment analysis


  • Guilherme Brittes Benitez Department of Production and Transportation Engineering – Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS
  • Mateus José do Rêgo Ferreira Lima Department of Management Sciences, Fisher College of Business – The Ohio State University



Investment analysis, Decision making, Managerial flexibility, Real options method, Case study


Goal: This study aims to assess the impact of using the method of real options in investment analysis through a case study on a retail firm.

Design / Methodology / Approach: It was targeted the applications of the real options method in a different type of environment and it was compared to another method more commonly used, the discounted cash flow method (DCF). The implementation and assessment of the real options method was investigated by means of a case study conducted in an investment analysis in a retail units firm.

Results: The use of the real options method showed a more concise applicability over the DCF method. The results show that the project’s value, after the inclusion of managerial flexibility, increased significantly, which indicates that the analysis of the discounted cash flow undervalued the investment in question, since it disregarded the flexibility to expand or abandon the project.

Limitations of the investigation: The presented method is proper to long-term processes where it is possible to make changes during the project. Investments in this sector usually are more related to short and medium-term decisions, making the application difficult due to the short decision-making period available to the managers.

Practical Implications: The study provided the incorporation of flexibility through different pathways during the building project in a retail units firm. It was showed different scenarios where practitioners could decide among expanding, proceeding, reducing or abandoning the retail units based on the characteristics of their investments.

Originality/value: The results obtained are an indication of this methodology to industrial businesses that are relatively volatile and that need a certain degree of flexibility in order to burgeon, such as the case of the retailing sector.


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How to Cite

Benitez, G. B., & Ferreira Lima, M. J. do R. (2019). The real options method applied to decision making – an investment analysis. Brazilian Journal of Operations & Production Management, 16(4), 562–571.

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