Improving the generation of decision objectives
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Real decision makers exhibit significant shortcomings in the generation of objectives for decisions that they face. Prior research has illustrated the magnitude of this shortcoming but not its causes. In this paper, we identify two distinct impediments to the generation of decision objectives: not thinking broadly enough about the range of relevant objectives, and not thinking deeply enough to articulate every objective within the range that is considered. To test these explanations and explore ways of stimulating a more comprehensive set of objectives, we present three experiments involving a variety of interventions: the provision of sample objectives, organization of objectives by category, and direct challenges to do better, with or without a warning that important objectives are missing. The use of category names and direct challenges with a warning both led to improvements in the quantity of objectives generated without impacting their quality; other interventions yielded less improvement. We conclude by discussing the relevance of our findings to decision analysis and offering prescriptive implications for the elicitation of decision objectives. © 2010 INFORMS.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1287/deca.1100.0172
Publication InfoBond, SD; Carlson, KA; & Keeney, RL (2010). Improving the generation of decision objectives. Decision Analysis, 7(3). pp. 238-255. 10.1287/deca.1100.0172. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/4421.
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Research Professor Emeritus
Ralph L. Keeney received Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Research Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, Duke University, and Research Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California. His areas of expertise are the decision sciences, risk analysis, and systems management. He is an authority on decision analysis, decision making with multiple objectives, and value-focused thinking. During his professional career, Dr.