A Strategy for Using Multicriteria Analysis in Decision-Making
First of all, it is necessary to point out that this is not a mathematical book, albeit obviously the subject of decision-making rests a good deal on this discipline, since it is almost impossible to take decisions without the help of some indicators, ratios, weights, procedures, algorithms, etc. which are in essence mathematical concepts.
However, bien entendu, it is the Decision Maker (DM) who takes a decision, not a mathematical model, no matter how elaborate or sophisticated it could be. Once this is clarified, perhaps the reader asks what the purpose of this book is then. It aims at giving the DM the information he/she needs to collect the necessary data; to analyze that intelligence and facts, to process them, and to extract valid conclusions. However, because usually the decision-making process is a complex task, with large amounts of information, it is extremely difficult or even impossible to take a rational decision, due to the number of intervening variables, their interrelationships, potential solutions that might exist, diverse objectives envisioned for a project, etc.; therefore some help is called for, and some strategy is required to organize, classify, and evaluate this information. The strategy includes methods to analyze the results and to get help from them. This book aims precisely at developing such strategy.
Help comes in the form of computerized models or methodologies which not only take the burden off normally tedious calculations (which also offer the opportunity for many mistakes), but, which is more important, are designed to obtain coherent responses based on a rational analysis, on the grounds of a series of principles and algorithms particular to each method. The DM may or may not accept the result
yielded by such models, whatever they might be and whatsoever the reasons, but they offer an outcome which could be analyzed by the DM, adding or deleting concepts, alternatives, criteria, etc., and from this point of view this book tries to be a guide or road map.
This work reviews the main different approaches devised for helping the decision-making process, with rather complicated examples posed and solved for each one, and using, when available, dedicated software. However, within the strategy, this book emphasizes the use of a methodology called Linear Programming (LP), because there are compelling grounds for this choice, which are based on the optimality of results that it produces and for its mathematical soundness, as well as because it offers a less subjective approach to a complex problem.
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