Decisionmaking Among Multiple-Attribute Alternatives

A Survey and Consolidated Approach

by Kenneth R. MacCrimmon


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback72 pages $25.00 $20.00 20% Web Discount

A description and evaluation of several existing methods designed to help decisionmakers deal with the multiple-decision problem. In all types of decision situations, the alternatives from which a choice must be made are characterized by multiple attributes (or properties). For example, a weapon system may be characterized by performance, cost, availability date, etc. The attributes of these characteristics may be considered at various levels of aggregation, i.e., performance may be considered relative to range, delivery, time, yield, vulnerability, and accuracy. As the number of relevant attributes and alternatives increases, the ability of the decisionmaker to handle the problem decreases, and the information-processing requirements may rapidly exceed the decisionmaker's processing capacity. Methods to deal with this problem include Dominance, Satisficing, Maximin, Minimax, Lexicography, Additive Weighting, Effectiveness Index, Utility Theory, Tradeoffs, and Nonmetric Scaling. Similarities and differences in the various approaches are demonstrated by a simplified weapon system-selection problem. It is concluded that using a combination of methods frequently may be more feasible than using any one method separately.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.