Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris

Delphi method

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_229


The Delphi method was developed at the RAND Corporation from studies on decision making that began in 1948. The seminal work, “An Experimental Application of the Delphi Method to the Use of Experts,” was written by Dalkey and Helmer (1963).

The primary rationale for the technique is the age-old adage “two heads are better than one,” particularly when the issue is one where exact knowledge is not available. It was developed as an alternative to the traditional method of obtaining group opinions — face-to-face discussions. Experimental studies had demonstrated several serious difficulties with such discussions. Among them were: (1) influence of the dominant individual (the group is highly influenced by the person who talks the most or has most authority); (2) noise (studies found that much “communication” in such groups had to do with individual and group interests rather than problem solving); and (3) group pressure for conformity (studies demonstrated the distortions of...

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  1. [1]
    Dalkey, N. and Helmer, O. (1963). “An Experimental Application of the Delphi Method to the Use of Experts,” Management Science, 9, 458–467.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Gustafson, D.H., Shukla, R.K., Delbecq, A., and Walster, G. W. (1973). “A Comparison Study of Differences in Subjective Likelihood Estimates Made by Individuals, Interacting Groups, Delphi Groups, and Nominal Groups,” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 9, 280–291.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Rowe, G., Wright, G., and Bolger F. (1991). “Delphi: A Reevaluation of Research and Theory,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 39, 235–251.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Sackman, H. (1975). Delphi Critique, Lexington Books, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Woudenberg, F. (1991). “An Evaluation of Delphi,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 40, 131–150.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA