Group Decision Methodology to Support Watershed Committees in Choosing Among Combinations of Alternatives

Abstract

A group decision-making methodology is proposed that permits each member of a group to state his or her preferences with respect to combinations of alternative solutions to a problem during a collective process to arrive at a compromise via a special voting procedure. The possible combinations of alternatives are systematically generated using an option form approach. Decision-makers (DMs) individually rank combinations based on their preferences by providing ordinal information in an interactive way, reducing the cognitive burden of making many comparisons or defining tradeoffs. In this approach, each DM expresses his or her preferences using logical preference statements regarding combinations of alternatives. A group recommendation is obtained after aggregating the final individual ranks through a voting procedure, and a voting support system, based on classification by quartiles. The voting procedure is simple and transparent for voters and does not present severe computational difficulties, thereby making this approach an appropriate tool for employment in the context of group-decision making. To illustrate its applicability, the proposed methodology is applied to a realistic decision problem faced by a watershed committee in Brazil.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to express their sincere appreciation to the anonymous referees who provided constructive comments which enhanced the quality of their paper. They are grateful for research funding which was received from the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education—CAPES (BEX 10566-14-7); the National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPQ); the Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia de Pernambuco (FACEPE); and the Agência Pernambucana de Águas e Clima (APAC) in Brazil. They are also grateful to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada who awarded Discovery Grants.

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Correspondence to Marcella Maia Urtiga.

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Urtiga, M.M., Morais, D.C., Hipel, K.W. et al. Group Decision Methodology to Support Watershed Committees in Choosing Among Combinations of Alternatives. Group Decis Negot 26, 729–752 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10726-016-9515-5

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Keywords

  • Group decision-making
  • Water resources management
  • Aggregation of individual preferences
  • Ordinal preferences