Integrating the DEMATEL with the analytic network process for effective decision-making

Abstract

One of the most advanced and complex multi-criteria decision-making methods is the analytic network process (ANP). This method supports modelling dependencies and feedback between elements in the network, while most other methods do not support this feature. For this reason, the ANP is one of the most appropriate methods for making decisions in the fields characterised by existing dependencies of higher-level elements on lower-level elements, such as the higher education field. However, the implementation of the ANP can be problematic, as it is characterised by highly complex and time-consuming processes, and users’ occasional misunderstandings of some ANP steps. Also, conducting the ANP requires a specific decision-making problem structure, which is a cluster-node structure in the form of a network. To assist with problem structuring and decrease some of the problematic ANP implementation characteristics, specific methods, such as the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) and interpretative structural modelling, have been chosen and integrated with the ANP. This paper focuses on the integration and analysis of the DEMATEL with the ANP. A literature review of how these two methods have been used together is given. Additionally, a new way of integrating these two methods (with two variants) is proposed and evaluated. According to the survey results, new ways of integrating the ANP and the DEMATEL decrease the complexity of the decision-making process, reduce the duration of the decision-making process, and increase users’ understanding of the method. The research methodology used in this paper is the design science research process.

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Acknowledgements

The work presented in this paper has been supported by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project, ‘Development of a methodological framework for strategic decision-making in higher education—a case of open and distance learning (ODL) implementation’. Project Number: IP-2014-09-7854. Details about the project can be found at the project website, http://higherdecision.foi.hr/en. This paper is a journal version of the paper, ‘Decision-Making with the Analytic Network Process’, which was presented at the SOR 2017 Conference.

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Correspondence to Nikola Kadoić.

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Kadoić, N., Divjak, B. & Begičević Ređep, N. Integrating the DEMATEL with the analytic network process for effective decision-making. Cent Eur J Oper Res 27, 653–678 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10100-018-0601-4

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Keywords

  • Analytic network process
  • DEMATEL
  • Decision-making
  • Dependencies
  • Influences
  • Feedback
  • Structuring
  • Weighted graph
  • Interdependent matrices