Multi-perspective Strategic Decision Making

Principles, Methods, and Tools

by Lynne Wainfan

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Increasingly, governing groups must take into account diverse perspectives (values, beliefs, and expectations) from within the group, from stakeholders, analysts, and adversaries. Multi-perspective strategic decision making is the process of making long-term decisions that shape the course of an organization, while taking into account diverse perspectives. Often, these perspectives affect the group’s decision more than “objective” criteria. For complex, deeply uncertain problems, groups considering diverse perspectives can be challenged to agree on strategy. This research defines methods, principles, and tools to help groups agree on strategy despite widely diverse perspectives. It extends exploratory analysis techniques to cover new types of factors driving the choice of strategy: “perspective parameters,” including those used for aggregation and scoring variables in a multiresolution model; along with uncertain objective parameters. Six useful simplification techniques are defined to help decision makers see the essence of a complex system and the forces driving it. Finally, this research introduces a heuristic that uses driving forces’ time frame and controllability to identify the best strategy and ways to iterate options. The approach is illustrated using a defense acquisition strategy.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Challenges of Multi-perspective Strategic Decision Making, How Others Have Approached These Challenges, and the Principles of MPSDM

  • Chapter Three

    Methodology and Toolset of Multi-perspective Strategic Decision Making

  • Chapter Four

    Demonstration of the Approach

  • Chapter Five

    Implementing MPSDM

This document was submitted as a dissertation in March 2010 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Paul Davis (Chair), David Groves, and Richard Hillestad.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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