Advertisement

Towards a holistic strategic framework for applying robust facilitated approaches in political decision making

  • Nikos TsotsolasEmail author
  • Spiros Alexopoulos
Original Paper

Abstract

Political decisions (e.g. economic, fiscal, development) are often complex and multifaceted and involve many different stakeholders with different objectives and priorities. Very often decision-makers, when confronted with such problems, attempt to use intuitive or heuristic approaches to simplify the complexity until the problem seems more manageable. In this process, important information may be lost, opposing points of view may be discarded, and elements of uncertainty may be ignored. A crucial issue, when dealing with political decisions, is the radical uncertainty about the present (e.g. lack or poor quality of information) and also about the future. The latter one addresses the seeming paradox—how can we evaluate the rationality of our decisions today if the most important fact that we know about future conditions is that they are unknowable? In the literature it is mentioned that robustness analysis is a way of supporting government decision making when dealing with uncertainties and ignorance. However, so far no framework to deal with robustness in policy making, in a concrete and comprehensive manner, has been proposed. In the present research we discuss the different definitions and approaches of Robustness Analysis in government decision-making concerning the present and the future as a way to support the identification of potential robust strategies in policy circles. We also initiate the discussion on how facilitated forms of MCDA could tackle different aspects associated with government decision making and provide effective support in dealing with robustness of strategic decisions in designing complex policies with long-term consequences. We finally present some of our proposals introducing a holistic framework to deal with robustness issues in government decision-making.

Keywords

Robustness analysis Political decision-making Facilitated modelling MCDA Decision support Strategic management 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports of Greece and the European Social Fund, under the Grant THALIS, MIS 377350 “Methodological approaches for studying robustness in multiple criteria decision making projects” for the first in order author.

References

  1. Ackermann F, Eden C (2001) Contrasting single user and networked group decision support systems for strategy making. Group Decis Negot 10(1):47–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aggarwal A, Sundar G, Thakur M (2013) Techniques of performance appraisal—a review. Int J Eng Adv Technol IJEAT 2(3):234–235Google Scholar
  3. Aissi H, Roy B (2010) Robustness in multi-criteria decision aiding. In: Ehrgott M, Figueira JR, Greco S (eds) Trends in multiple criteria decision analysis, chapter 4. Springer, New York, pp 87–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersson A, Grönlund A, Åström J (2012) “You can’t make this a science!”—analyzing decision support systems in political contexts. Gov Inf Q 29:543–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. André FJ, Cardenete MA (2008) Economic and environmental efficient policies in an applied general equilibrium framework. Ekonomiaz: revista vasca de economía, Vitoria-Gasteiz: Servicio Central de Publ. del Gobierno Vasco 67(1):72–91 (in Spanish) Google Scholar
  6. Belton V, Stewart T (2002) Multiple criteria decision analysis: an integrated approach. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouckaert G, Halligan J (2008) Managing performance, international comparisons. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Bouyssou D, Marchant T, Pirlot M, Tsoukiàs A, Vincke P (2006) Evaluation and decision models with multiple criteria: stepping stones for the analyst. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Brynard P (2003) Policy-making in the Okavango River basin. In: Turton A, Ashton P, Clete E (eds) Transboundary rivers, sovereignty and development: Hydropolitical drivers in the Okavango River basin, chapter 14. Green Cross International, Geneva, pp 303–327Google Scholar
  10. Cairney P (2015a) How can policy theory have an impact on policymaking? The role of theory-led academic–practitioner discussions. Teach Public Adm 33(1):22–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cairney P (2015b) The politics of evidence based policymaking. Palgrave Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Checkland P (1981) Systems thinking, systems practice. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  13. Cherns A (1976) The principles of sociotechnical design. Hum Relat 29(8):783–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Christodoulakis N (2015) Analytical methods and decision support systems under uncertainty. Ph.D. thesis, University of Piraeus, Pireaus (in Greek) Google Scholar
  15. David FR (2009) Strategic management: concepts and cases, 12th edn. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  16. De Marchi G, Lucertini G, Tsoukiàs A (2014) From evidence-based policy making to policy analytics. Ann Oper Res. doi: 10.1007/s10479-014-1578-6 Google Scholar
  17. Dente B (2014) Understanding policy decisions. Applied science and technology. Springer, BostonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunn WN (2008) Public policy analysis: an introduction, 4th edn. Pearson Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  19. Eden C (1990) The unfolding nature of group decision support: two dimensions of Skill. In: Eden C, Radford J (eds) Tackling strategic problems: the role of group decision support. Sage, London, pp 48–52Google Scholar
  20. Eden C, Ackermann F (2004) Use of ‘Soft OR’ models by clients: what do they want from them? In: Pidd M (ed) Systems modeling: theory and practice. Wiley, Chichester, pp 146–163Google Scholar
  21. Ferlie E, Ashburner L, Fitzgerald L, Pettigrew A (1996) The new public management in action. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Figueira J, Greco S, Ehrgott M (2005) State-of-art of multiple criteria decision analysis. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DortrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fisher F, Miller GJ, Sidney MS (2007) Handbook of public policy analysis: theory, politics, and methods. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  24. Franco LA, Montibeller G (2010) Facilitated modelling in operational research. Eur J Oper Res 205:489–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Franco LA, Montibeller G (2011) Problem structuring for multi-criteria decision analysis interventions. In: Cochran JJ (ed) Wiley encyclopedia of operations research and management science. Wiley, New York, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  26. Franco LA, Rouwette E (2011) Decision development in facilitated modelling workshops. Eur J Oper Res 212(1):164–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Friend J (1993) Searching for appropriate theory and practice in multi-organizational fields. J Oper Res Soc 44:585–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Friend J, Hickling A (2005) Planning under pressure: the strategic choice approach, 3rd edn. Elsevier, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  29. Goldmann K (2005) Appropriateness and consequences: the logic of neo-institutionalism. Governance 18(1):35–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goodwin P, Wright G (2001) Enhancing strategy evaluation in scenario planning: a role for decision analysis. J Manag Stud 38(1):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Haasnoot M, Kwakkel JH, Walker Warren E, Maat J (2013) Dynamic adaptive policy pathways: a method for crafting robust decisions for a deeply uncertain world. Glob Environ Change 23(2):485–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hites R, De Smet Y, Risse N, Salazar-Neumann M, Vincke P (2006) About the applicability of MCDA to some robustness problems. Eur J Oper Res 174(1):322–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hogwood BW, Gunn LA (1984) Policy analysis for the real world. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Hood C (1991) A public management for all seasons. Public Adm 69:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Dunleavy P, Hood C (1994) From old public administration to new public management, public money and management. July–Sep. pp 9–16Google Scholar
  36. Howlett M, Mukherjee I, Woo JJ (2015) From tools to toolkits in policy design studies: the new design orientation towards policy formulation research. Policy Politics 43(2):291–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hurson C, Siskos Y (2014) A synergy of multicriteria techniques to assess additive value models. Eur J Oper Res. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2014.03.047 Google Scholar
  38. Kasa K (2002) Model uncertainty, robust policies, and the value of commitment. Macroecon Dyn 6(01):145–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Keeney RL (1992) Value-focused thinking. A path to creative decision making. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  40. Keeney RL (2013) Identifying, prioritizing, and using multiple objectives. EURO J Decis Process 1(1–2):45–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Keisler JM (2002) Attribute-based differentiation of alternatives. J Multi-criteria Decis Anal 11:315–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kiker G, Bridges T, Varghese A, Seager T, Linkov I (2005) Application of multicriteria decision analysis in environmental decision making. Integr Environ Assess Manag 1(2):95–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kouvelis P, Yu G (1997) Robust discrete optimisation and its applications. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lagrèze EJ, Siskos Y (2001) Preference disaggregation: 20 years of MCDA experience. Eur J Oper Res 130:233–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lasswell HD (1956) The decision process: seven categories of functional analysis. University of Maryland Press, College ParkGoogle Scholar
  46. Lempert RJ, Collins MT (2007) Managing the risk of uncertain threshold responses: comparison of robust, optimum, and precautionary approaches. Risk Anal 27(4):1009–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Luptacik M (2010) Mathematical optimization and economic analysis. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mayer I, van Daalen E, Bots P (2004) Perspectives on policy analyses: a framework for understanding and design. Int J Technol Policy Manag 4(2):169–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McDaniels TL, Gregory RS, Fields D (1999) Democratizing risk management: successful public involvement in local water management decisions. Risk Anal 19:497–510Google Scholar
  50. Mónica G, Barberis F (2006) Robustness analysis: a powerful tool in the multiple criteria decision making field. Newsletter of the European working group “Multiple Criteria Decision Aiding”, Series 3, No. 13, pp 9–13Google Scholar
  51. Montibeller G, Franco A (2010) Multi-criteria decision analysis for strategic decision making. In: Zopounidis C, Pardalos PM (eds) Handbook of multicriteria analysis. Springer, New York, pp 25–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Montibeller G, Franco A (2011) Raising the bar: strategic multi-criteria decision analysis. J Oper Res Soc 62:855–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Montibeller G, Gummer H, Tumidei D (2006) Combining scenario planning and multi-criteria decision analysis in practice. J Multicriteria Decis Anal 14(1–3):5–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Philippidou S, Soderquist K, Prastacos G (2004) Towards new public management in Greek public organizations: leadership vs Management and the path to implementation. Public Organ Rev Glob J 4(4):317–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Phillips L (2007) Decision conferencing. In: Edwards W, Miles R Jr, von Winterfeldt D (eds) Advances in decision analysis: from foundations to applications. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 375–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pollitt C, Bouckaert G (2011) Public management reform: a comparative analysis—new public management, governance, and the Neo-Weberian state. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  57. Richard JL (1983) Aide à la Décision Stratégique en PME. In: Jacquet-Lagrèze E, Siskos J (eds) Méthode de Décision Multicritère. Hommes et Techniques, Paris, pp 119–142 (in French) Google Scholar
  58. Ritchey T (2011) Wicked problems—social messes: decision support modelling with morphological analysis. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rosenhead J (2002) Robustness analysis. Newsletter of the European working group “Multiple Criteria Decision Aiding”, Series 3, No. 6, pp 6–10Google Scholar
  60. Rosenhead J, Mingers J (2001) A new paradigm of analysis. In: Rosenhead J, Mingers J (eds) Rational analysis for a problematic world revisited: problem structuring methods for complexity, uncertainty, and conflict. Wiley, Chichester, pp 1–19Google Scholar
  61. Rosenhead J, Elton M, Gupta SK (1972) Robustness and optimality as criteria for strategic decisions. Oper Res Q 23(4):413–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Roy B (1985) Méthodologie Multicritère d’Aide à la Décision. Springer, Paris (in French) Google Scholar
  63. Roy B (2005) Paradigms and challenges. In: Figueira JR, Greco JS, Ehrgott S (eds) Multiple criteria decision analysis—state of the art surveys. Springer, New York, pp 3–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Roy B (2010) Robustness in operational research and decision aiding: a multi-faceted issue. Eur J Oper Res 200:629–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Roy B, Bouyssou D (1993) Aide multicritère à la décision: Méthodes et cas. Economica, Paris (in French) Google Scholar
  66. Roy B, Słowiński R (2013) Questions guiding the choice of a multicriteria decision aiding method. EURO J Decis Process 1(1–2):69–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Salo A, Hamalainen RP (2010) Multicriteria decision analysis in group decision processes. In: Kilgour DM, Eden C (eds) Handbook of group decision and negotiation. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 1–23Google Scholar
  68. Siskos Y (2008) Decision models. New Technologies Publications, Athens (in Greek) Google Scholar
  69. Siskos Y, Grigoroudis E (2010) New trends in aggregation-disaggregation approaches. In: Zopounidis C, Pardalos PM (eds) Handbook of multicriteria analysis. Springer, New York, pp 189–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sylvan DA, Goel A, Chandrasekaran B (1990) Analyzing political decision making from an information-processing perspective: JESSE. Am J Polit Sci 34(1):74–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tsoukias A, Montibeller G, Lucertini G, Belton V (2013) Policy analytics: an agenda for research and practice. EURO J Decis Process 1(1–2):115–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Van Dooren W, Bouckaert G, Halligan J (2015) Performance management in the public sector, 2nd edn. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  73. Velasquez M, Hester PT (2013) An analysis of multi-criteria decision making methods. Int J Oper Res 10(2):56–66Google Scholar
  74. Vincke P (1999) Robust and neutral methods for aggregating preferences into an outranking relation. Eur J Oper Res 112:405–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vincke P (2003) About robustness analysis. Newsletter of the European Working Group “Multiple Criteria Decision Aiding”, Series 3, No. 8, pp 7-9Google Scholar
  76. Williams T (2008) Management science in practice. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  77. Yang K, Holzer M (2006) The performance-trust link: implications for performance measurement. Public Manag Rev 66(1):114–126Google Scholar
  78. Young J, Mendizabal E (2009) Helping researchers become policy entrepreneurs. ODI briefing paper 53Google Scholar
  79. Zopounidis C, Pardalos PM (2010) Handbook of multicriteria analysis. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Piraeus80, Karaoli and Dimitriou Str.PiraeusGreece

Personalised recommendations