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Decision Analysis in Situations with Conflicting Interests
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2324-1021
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Decision problems in participatory decision making involve multiple stakeholders, who often have conflicting preferences concerning the actions under consideration. Decision problems such as these can be structured as multi-criteria problems, which enables the actions to be evaluated in terms of more than one single criterion. In these situations, the complexity of the problem increases when the objective is to select a portfolio of actions. Another aspect to take into consideration is that the choice of actions often has a long-term impact on the lives of the stakeholders. It is therefore not surprising that these problems often are sources of costly and time-consuming conflicts.

This thesis presents artifacts in the form of methods and applications aiding the decision maker in participatory decision making problems in highlighting stakeholder conflict. The artifacts are DANCE, XPLOR, POLA, and SENS. DANCE is a framework of methods that are used to elicit preferences, and to measure and analyze conflicts between and within stakeholder groups regarding the performance of an action. The framework uses three novel artifacts: i) CAR-CE a method for preference elicitation, ii) two indices, one for measuring the conflict within one stakeholder group, one for measuring the conflict between two stakeholder groups, and iii) an approach to portfolio optimisation and robustness analysis. XPLOR is a web-application that is used to explore and visualise stakeholder conflicts. POLA is a web-application for evaluating commercial development policy in cooperation with key stakeholders. The last artifact, SENSE, is a method for sensitivity analysis of portfolios.

The artifact development followed the design science methodology, where the aim of the artifact is to solve a practical problem and where, in this case, the artifacts were evaluated against a set of requirements. The preference elicitation method, CAR-CE, was implemented in a web-questionnaire and was used in a real-world survey in cooperation with Upplands Väsby municipality. The elicited preferences were used in illustrative scenarios to demonstrate both the DANCE framework and XPLOR. POLA was demonstrated in three examples based on results from workshops that were conducted together with the municipalities of Norrköping, Katrineholm and Filipstad. Altogether, these artifacts support decision makers in modeling and analyzing decision problems, with the purpose of avoiding future costly and time-consuming conflicts in land use planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2019. , p. 56
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 19-004
Keywords [en]
Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis, Portfolio Decision Analysis, Conflict Analysis, Decision Tools, Land Use Planning
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167153ISBN: 978-91-7797-682-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-683-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-167153DiVA, id: diva2:1297533
Public defence
2019-05-03, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 5: In press.

Available from: 2019-04-10 Created: 2019-03-20 Last updated: 2019-04-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Disagreement Constrained Action Selection in Participatory Portfolio Decision Analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Disagreement Constrained Action Selection in Participatory Portfolio Decision Analysis
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, ISSN 2010-0248, Vol. 7, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In some portfolio decision problems it is not possible or interesting to constrain portfolios with a monetary budget. Instead it might be of interest to investigate how disagreement among a group of decision makers or stakeholders can be used as a constraint, and how this affects the portfolio composition. In this paper we present complementary decision evaluation methods for group portfolio decision analysis in situations where the stakeholders have conflicting preferences. The approach supports the analysis of a portfolio of planned actions in urban planning when a large group of stakeholders have inconsistent opinions with respect to the performance of each action. The group of stakeholders is, for each criterion, partitioned into two disagreeing groups based upon their views on the actions' performance. The distance between these two groups is then measured. An action's aggregated disagreement taking into account all criteria is then used as the action's associated resource constraint, and portfolios can be generated by solving a sequence of Knapsack problems. The robustness of the portfolios can be further evaluated with an a priori sensitivity analysis. The suggested approach supports decision makers by elucidating how the portfolio composition changes when the actions' aggregated disagreement increases.

Keywords
e-Participation, e-democracy, urban planning, portfolio decision analysis, multi-criteria decision analysis, disagreement, consensus
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129727 (URN)10.18178/ijimt.2016.7.1.636 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-04-27 Last updated: 2019-03-20Bibliographically approved
2. Measuring Conflicts Using Cardinal Ranking: An Application to Decision Analytic Conflict Evaluations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Measuring Conflicts Using Cardinal Ranking: An Application to Decision Analytic Conflict Evaluations
2018 (English)In: Advances in Operations Research, ISSN 1687-9147, E-ISSN 1687-9155, article id 8290434Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One of the core complexities involved in evaluating decision alternatives in the area of public decision-making is to deal with conflicts. The stakeholders affected by and involved in the decision often have conflicting preferences regarding the actions under consideration. For an executive authority, these differences of opinion can be problematic, during both implementation and communication, even though the decision is rational with respect to an attribute set perceived to represent social welfare. It is therefore important to involve the stakeholders in the process and to get an understanding of their preferences. Otherwise, the stakeholder disagreement can lead to costly conflicts. One way of approaching this problem is to provide means for comprehensive, yet effective stakeholder preference elicitation methods, where the stakeholders can state their preferences with respect to actions part of the current agenda of a government. In this paper we contribute two supporting methods: (i) an application of the cardinal ranking (CAR) method for preference elicitation for conflict evaluations and (ii) two conflict indices for measuring stakeholder conflicts. The application of the CAR method utilizes a do nothing alternative to differentiate between positive and negative actions. The elicited preferences can then be used as input to the two conflict indices indicating the level of conflict within a stakeholder group or between two stakeholder groups. The contributed methods are demonstrated in a real-life example carried out in the municipality of Upplands Vasby, Sweden. We show how a questionnaire can be used to elicit preferences with CAR and how the indices can be used to semantically describe the level of consensus and conflict regarding a certain attribute. As such, we show how the methods can provide decision aid in the clarification of controversies.

National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162073 (URN)10.1155/2018/8290434 (DOI)000446812600001 ()
Available from: 2018-11-23 Created: 2018-11-23 Last updated: 2019-03-20Bibliographically approved
3. Portfolio Decision Analysis for Evaluating Stakeholder Conflicts in Land Use Planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Portfolio Decision Analysis for Evaluating Stakeholder Conflicts in Land Use Planning
Show others...
2019 (English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Keywords
Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis, Portfolio Decision Analysis, Conflict Analysis and Optimization, Land Use Planning
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167152 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2011-3313-20412-31
Available from: 2019-03-20 Created: 2019-03-20 Last updated: 2019-03-25Bibliographically approved
4. Sensitivity Analysis in Portfolio Interval Decision Analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sensitivity Analysis in Portfolio Interval Decision Analysis
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference: Proceedings / [ed] Chutima Boonthum-Denecke, G. Michael Youngblood, AAAI Press, 2013, p. 609-614Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Techniques enabling decision makers to identify a set of non-mutually exclusive projects (or alternatives) constituting a portfolio, while allowing for imprecise information with respect to projects’ benefits, costs, and overall resource constraints, have emerged as an area of great applicability. To reach applicability, reasonable and computationally meaningful decision evaluation methods are needed. In this paper, we propose an embedded form of sensitivity analysis for portfolio interval decision analysis building upon the concept of interval contraction. Both a priori sensitivity analysis and a posteriori sensitivity analysis for portfolio interval decision analysis are supported by the approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AAAI Press, 2013
Keywords
Portfolio Decision Analysis, Sensitivity Analysis, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Imprecise Information
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97235 (URN)978-1-57735-605-9 (ISBN)
Conference
The Twenty-Sixth International FLAIRS Conference, St. Pete Beach, USA, May 22 – 24, 2013
Available from: 2013-12-05 Created: 2013-12-05 Last updated: 2019-03-25Bibliographically approved
5. A Web-Based Visualization Tool for Exploring Stakeholder Conflicts in Land Use Planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Web-Based Visualization Tool for Exploring Stakeholder Conflicts in Land Use Planning
2019 (English)In: Transactions on GIS, ISSN 1361-1682, E-ISSN 1467-9671Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article describes an open source Web-based visualization tool for exploring stakeholder conflicts in land use planning. It implements a multi-criteria decision analytic framework which solves a conflict constrained knapsack problem in order to find Pareto efficient combinations of actions which maximize public value given the conflict constraint. The user interface is centered around an interactive map in which geographical subareas are color shaded in proportion to the mean strength of preference for a particular chosen action within the population in the selected area. The overarching aim of this work is to investigate the use of Web technologies and formal problem-solving methods for improving public participation in land use planning and support local governments in the pursuit of improved decision making. The tool was developed using the free statistical programming language R and the web application framework Shiny. Its usefulness is demonstrated through a case study in Upplands Väsby municipality in Stockholm County, Sweden. The article ends with a summary together with some ideas for future research and development. 

Keywords
SDSS, spatial decision support system, MCDA, multi-criteria decision analysis
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167147 (URN)10.1111/tgis.12527 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2011-3313-20412-31
Available from: 2019-03-20 Created: 2019-03-20 Last updated: 2019-07-12
6. Policy analysis on the fly with an online multicriteria cardinal ranking tool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Policy analysis on the fly with an online multicriteria cardinal ranking tool
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, ISSN 1057-9214, E-ISSN 1099-1360, Vol. 25, no 3-4, p. 55-66Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper reports upon the deliverables and learnings from a project within decision analysis for participatory planning and policy analysis on the municipal level. The project aimed to develop and utilize an online multicriteria decision analysis tool for evaluations of policy alternatives with respect to municipal commercial development policies, acknowledging the objectives and preferences from various local and national stakeholders. The tool itself relied solely on that the users supplied cardinal ranking statements in the appraisal of alternatives and in the ranking of criteria and the surrounding method has been used in three cases. In each case, several significant insights obtained in the decision-modelling workshops were emphasized by the participants. The better understanding of the general decision situation, preference structures, and possible strategies was highly appreciated. The perception was also that this enabled a better understanding of conflicting issues, even when these were not entirely resolved.

Keywords
criteria rankings, decision tool, group decision making, imprecise information, policymaking, urban planning
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158158 (URN)10.1002/mcda.1634 (DOI)000437286700001 ()
Available from: 2018-07-23 Created: 2018-07-23 Last updated: 2019-03-20Bibliographically approved

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