Tuesday, 6 November 2007
We Need More Than Discussion to Understand Complexity-The Babel of Words About What To Do in Iraq
Thomas Saaty, University of Pittsburgh (KGSB)
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: In a complex interlinked society, diverse groups must work together to make and execute decisions successfully. Because they enable us to incorporate diverse perspectives, multicriteria methods (MCDM) have become very popular for collaborative decision making today. There are nearly 100 professional organizations concerned with MCDM. The International Society on the Analytic Hierarchy and Analytic Network Processes (AHP/ANP), a subject that I developed in the 1970’s, is one of them.
We have learned from multicriteria thinking that in order to make a best choice in a decision, discussion and cause-effect reasoning are not enough to learn what is the best outcome overall. The AHP/ANP provides comprehensive methods and structures for systematically improving our understanding of the influences that drive how we evaluate alternatives and make decisions. It overcomes the so called bounded rationality based on the assumption of transitivity by including in its structures and calculations, the sensitivity and depth of feelings associated with understanding and the imagination and awareness needed to address all the concerns. These processes acknowledge the inherent subjectivity in all decision making, and make it explicit to the stakeholders through relative quantitative priorities. It is no more free of potential bias than any method that one may want to exploit for one’s own purposes.