ABSTRACT

Team decision making requires comparing perceptions of not only the current situation but also relevant goals. While for a complex situation it is difficult to spell out which factors play a role and how they relate, specifying goals seems much simpler. Interestingly, research shows that decision makers find it difficult to list all the objectives that are relevant to a particular issue. Nevertheless, making objectives explicit is the first step in comparing preferences and value trade-offs. Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a versatile approach to specifying goals and choosing between options. It enables the analyst to integrate information that is very diverse, using different scales, in which natural scales are not always available and subjectivity plays a role. Decision conferencing is a participative version of MCDA. It guides participants through a structured process of defining alternative options, assessing values and corresponding criteria, weighing criteria against one another, and finally scoring options against criteria. Effectiveness studies indicate that participants see decision conferencing as a fully participatory and goal-centred process, more effective than traditional (unsupported) meetings in terms of information processing, resulting in more alignment on actions.