Multiobjective and Multistakeholder Choice

18 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Samuel E. Bodily

Samuel E. Bodily

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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This technical note considers how one makes choices in situations where there are multiple objectives and attributes that measure performance against these objectives. In some instances, given attributes may be important because they measure impacts of a choice on specific stakeholders. The note considers elimination of alternatives by aspects, dominance, and some decision rules that do not require compensatory tradeoffs (lexicographic, satisficing). Methods for "rate and weight" (linear additive scoring rules) are described and illustrated.




We have all wrestled enough with important decisions—what job to take, where to locate a production facility, which product to develop—to realize that they usually involve more than one objective. A number of significant choices generally affect many stakeholders, who will take a part in the decision making process. We may “muddle through” a decision with many objectives or stakeholders. Yet we recognize that some aids and a conceptual foundation for our decisions would be welcome, even in some of the more straightforward situations. In cases that have many objectives, stakeholders, or alternatives, our intellects are overloaded and we are in dire need of help.

This note describes how you can evaluate alternatives based on multiple objectives by using your own personal preferences or by assessing the preferences of others. First, methods are given that do not require trade-offs among objectives. These methods are simple and may lead to a unanimous decision without requiring that parties state opposing preferences. This is useful when the justification for decisions will be made public.

In many instances, however, trade-offs between objectives are necessary and should be based on personal judgments and preferences. The second part of this note presents procedures for assessing personal trade-offs among attributes and using these preferences to compare alternatives. As we proceed, several examples will show how simple spreadsheet analysis may aid this process.

The Generic Choice Problem

. . .

Keywords: decision analysis, multi-objective decision making, performance measurement, quantitative analysis, general

Suggested Citation

Bodily, Samuel E., Multiobjective and Multistakeholder Choice. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0406. Available at SSRN:

Samuel E. Bodily (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4813 (Phone)
434-293-7677 (Fax)


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