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Adapting and refining in multi-criteria decision-making

DB O'Brien and CM Brugha
The Journal of the Operational Research Society
Vol. 61, No. 5 (May 2010), pp. 756-767
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40608237
Page Count: 12
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Adapting and refining in multi-criteria decision-making
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Abstract

This paper describes the implementation of a Structured Methodology for Direct-Interactive Structured-Criteria (DISC) Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM), an eight-stage nomological adjusting cycle of activities that shape the information used to make a decision, requiring it be accessible, differentiable, abstractable, understandable, verifiable, measurable, refinable and usable. It shows, in a major IT strategic investment case, that Structured DISC MCDM provides a robust model that can be used for deep and serious consideration of multi-criteria decisions by a group of decision-makers over a long period. The paper describes the case as it moves through stages of the adjusting cycle and shows that, after completing the cycle, it reverses and becomes an adapting process, starting with refining the information. Refining is shown to be more extensive than previously understood, and to cover ' alternatives & scores', criteria & weights' and 'set of alternatives'. Next the form of measurement is adapted. As the number of alternatives are reduced it can become more appropriate to directly compare the two or three most preferred alternatives relative to one another rather than objectively. Finally the criteria tree can be adapted using a 'magnifying glass' approach. This confines the evaluation to that part of the criteria tree in which the difference between a few preferred alternatives is mainly emphasised.

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