Enhancing Analytical Methods of Collective Decision Making

By Charles, Joni S.; Temponi, Cecilia | Atlantic Economic Journal, December 1997 | Go to article overview

Enhancing Analytical Methods of Collective Decision Making


Charles, Joni S., Temponi, Cecilia, Atlantic Economic Journal


A common method of analysis when decisions have to be made by multiple stakeholders using multiple criteria is value tree analysis. Variations of this, such as the Public Value Forum (PVF), have been used especially in complex choices involving environmental issues [Keeney et al., MgtSci, 36, 9, 1990, pp. 1011-30]. Value tree analysis uses Multiattribute Utility Theory (MAUT) [Keeney and Raiffa, 1976] to evaluate a large number of alternatives. Decisionmakers decide the impact an alternative will have on each of many attributes and express how important each attribute is to them. The choice of attributes and the weights attached to them provide evidence of their values and preferences.

The success of the PVF depends on the fact that individuals will understand each others' positions as they make explicit the tradeoffs among various attributes. However, participants in the PVF may have difficulty conveying in a precise way the information needed to calculate value scores and preference weights. Also, the language of MAUT lacks the flexibility to measure the degree to which a consensus of opinion can be reached. Fuzzy analysis [Zadeh, Info&Ctrl, 8, 1965, pp. 338-53] provides for uncertainty in scale responses which can be very common in a decisionmaker's choice of environment and flexibility of linguistic expression of preferences.

The authors had a group of students decide whether to retain the present use of a cement facility or to adopt a modified use of the facility which involved the use of hazardous waste. Three stakeholder groups emerged from the student group - the community, the company, and the local officials. …

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