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Value-focused thinking. Dr. Yan Liu Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering Wright State University. Introduction. Alternative-Focused Thinking Focuses on the choice among alternatives First characterizes a decision problem as alternatives available

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value focused thinking

Value-focused thinking

Dr. Yan Liu

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Wright State University

introduction
Introduction
  • Alternative-Focused Thinking
    • Focuses on the choice among alternatives
    • First characterizes a decision problem as alternatives available
    • Then considers objectives and criteria to evaluate alternatives
    • Reactive not proactive
      • Starts with obvious alternatives available and then selects one
  • Value-Focused Thinking
    • Focuses on values
    • Generates alternatives based on values
    • Evaluates alternatives using values
    • Proactive
      • Starts with deciding what the decision maker wants and then works to make it a reality
job choice example
Job Choice Example

John is a senior at Wright State University. He plans to work for a few years before attending graduate school in business. How should he find “the right” job?

Alternative-Focused Approach

He interviews with firms that recruit graduates on campus and pursues possibilities back home. Suppose that after reading short descriptions of job placement possibilities, he selects six firms to interview and gets three offersfrom these interviews. He also mentions to some people back home that he is graduating and in the job market. From this, two good prospects for offers come up, but these are not yet actual offers.

At this stage, John has five alternatives and must choose one. First, he may eliminate alternatives that seem to be noncontenders, reducing the possibilities to three. Then, the choice may become difficult. He may rank the remaining alternatives in terms of his personal feelings about them and in terms of their probable effects on his career. He may also talk to friends, teachers, and parents about the options…

slide4
Value-Focused Approach

John can begin by clarifying what he wants to achieve by working for the next few years. After hard thinking and perhaps some serious study, he may break his objectives into four categories broadly concerned with (1)learning valuable skills (e.g. marketing, finance, and interpersonal skills) for his career, (2) finding out for sure whether he wants to go to graduate school in business, (3)enhancing his chances of acceptance at the best business schools, and (4) experiencing a different geographical region and lifestyle.

Using his interests to guide his thinking, John should be able to identify jobs that may well satisfy his desires. Once he has identified particularly desirable jobs in each category, he should rank them using all of his objectives.

To make at least one of the best jobs into a bona fide offer, part of John’s task is to identify the resources available to assist him, including his experiences and skills, contacts, professional organizations, sources of ideas (such as books), and of course campus recruiting. Following through using such resources should produce job offers. These offers should be at least as good and more likely to be better than the offers acquired through alternative-focused thinking.

values
Values
  • What are Values
    • Things that are important to decision makers
    • Values should drive decisions
  • Constraint-Free Thinking
    • Thinking about what we wish to achieve or have
    • Thinking of desirable alternatives
    • Payoffs are potentially much greater than constrained thinking
      • Helpful in ill-defined problems
central role of thinking about values cont
Central Role of Thinking About Values (Cont.)
  • Uncovering Hidden Objectives
    • Thinking about values naturally provides an initial list of decision values
    • Provide many keys to identifying previously subconscious values and bringing them to consciousness
  • Creating Alternatives
    • Creating alternatives is more important than evaluating readily available ones
    • Thinking about values enhances creation of new desirable alternatives
      • Value model guides the search for creative alternatives in the direction in which one should go
  • Identifying Decision Opportunities
    • Identify opportunities to better achieve our overall values
      • Initial stimulus is typically a disenchantment with something or perceived possibility to do something better
      • Think routinely about how things are going and whether we can do better
central role of thinking about values cont1
Central Role of Thinking About Values (Cont.)

Guiding Strategic Thinking

Strategic values should be identified to guide all decisions

Suggest when and where potentially productive decision opportunities may be lurking

Suggest more specific objectives for the potential decision opportunities

Interconnecting Decisions

Different decisions are made in a consistent manner

All chosen alternatives should further the same set of strategic objectives

Guiding Information Collection

Values determine what information is important

Collect the information that will help us judge the alternatives in terms of achieving the predetermined values

Lead to better decisions either through the creation of better alternatives or through wiser choices of alternatives

8

central role of thinking about values cont2
Central Role of Thinking About Values (Cont.)

Facilitating Involvement in Multiple-Stakeholder Decisions

VFT can contribute to the productivity of interactions among multiple stakeholders

Discussions can separate disagreements about possible consequences from disagreements about the relative desirability of those consequences

Group can constructively reduce conflicts

Improving Communication

The language of VFT is the common language about the achievement of objectives in some particular decision context (not a technical language of specialties)

Values specify what is important and should be discussed when evaluating alternatives

9

central role of thinking about values cont3
Central Role of Thinking About Values (Cont.)

Evaluating Alternatives

Value judgments can be quantified and used to build a value model

Quantifies the benefit from implementing various alternatives

Used for comparison purposes

Which alternatives do more to give the decision maker what he/she wants

Can be used as an objective function for optimization

A utility function

Maps anticipated benefit to a dimensionless number (utility)

10

value focused thinking process
Value-Focused Thinking Process
  • Identify Potential Objectives
    • Discussions with decision makers and stakeholders
    • Techniques
      • Refer to the techniques listed in Table 3.2 at page 45 of the textbook
  • Transform into Objectives
    • The initial list may contain many items that are not objectives
      • Alternatives, constraints, and criteria to evaluate alternatives, …
    • Features of objectives
      • Decision context
      • Object
      • A direction of preference
  • Example:
  • One objective of a forest company is “ to minimize environmental impacts”
  • Context: Harvesting natural resources
  • Object: Environmental impact
  • Direction of preference : Less impact rather than more
value focused thinking process cont
Value-Focused Thinking Process (Cont.)
  • Structure Objectives
    • Develop a clear structure and a sound conceptual basis for relating objectives in decision context
    • Fundamental objectives hierarchy
    • Means objectives network
    • Use the WITI (Why Is That Important) test
  • Create Alternatives
    • Alternatives should be created that best achieve the objectives specified for the decision situation
    • Thinking about how to achieve fundamental and means objectives
      • Begin with focusing on one objective at a time
      • Next consider two objectives at a time
        • The generated alternatives are likely to be refinements or combinations of those created for single objectives
      • Continue until all objectives are considered together
      • Examine the generated alternatives to see if it is possible to combine some of them into a single alternative
value focused thinking process cont1
Value-Focused Thinking Process (Cont.)
  • Evaluate Alternatives
    • Evaluation criteria are based on values
  • Make Decisions
    • Decision trees
    • Multi-attribute decision making techniques
slide14
Transporting Nuclear Waste

Fuel for nuclear power plants is contained in rods that are inserted into the reactor. After use, these rods, then referred to as spent fuel rods, are withdrawn and stored in pools of water to allow their radioactivity to decrease through radioactive decay. After some years, they are taken from the pool and placed in a cask for shipping to either a temporary “monitored retrievable storage facility” or a permanent “geologic repository”. If temporary storage is utilized, the spent fuel will later be shipped to a geologic repository.

As part of the Department of Energy’s program to evaluate the alternatives for managing spent fuel, a study was commissioned to evaluate metal cask systems for shipping spent nuclear fuel from power plants to storage locations.

slide15
Identifying Stakeholder Objectives

During a two-day meeting, objectives for the shipment of spent nuclear fuel were elicited from three panels, each with 10 to 15 members: 1) the technical panel which was composed of people from utility companies and other firms in the nuclear industry, 2) the governmental panel which included representatives of state governments and federal agencies, and 3) the public interest panel which included people from environmental groups, consumer groups, and universities.

The initial meeting with stakeholders was a common meeting. This let the stakeholders know that they received the same information at the same time, putting them on equal footing and suggesting that the process was a legitimate effort rather than simply window dressing. Several important topics were reviewed in the general meeting. First the waste shipment problem was outlined. Then the purposes of involving the stakeholders, how they were selected, and the uses of their results were clarified. This set the stage for the identification of objectives using the techniques listed in Table 3.2 of the textbook (e.g. developing a wish list, determining strategic objectives, predicting consequences), which was carried out in a separate ninety-minute session with each panel.

slide16
Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy of the Technical Panel

Positive Social Impacts

Minimize Economic Costs

Positive Political Impacts

Minimize Health and Safety Impacts

Minimize

government costs

Minimize

utilities costs

Minimize radiation effects

Minimize transportation effects

Increase

political acceptability

Positive impacts on transportation system

Positive local and state attitudes

Increase public confidence

To the public

To the public

Improve aesthetics

To the workers

To the workers

slide17
Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy of the Government Panel

Minimize Health and Safety Impacts

Minimize Costs

Minimize indirect economic costs

Minimize direct economic costs

Minimize transportation effects

Minimize radiation effects

Costs of state and local responses to the system

State costs

Federal costs

Court costs, regulatory costs, etc.

To the public

To the public

Utility company costs

Road maintenance costs

To the workers

To the workers

slide18
Government

Nuclear industry

Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy of the Government Panel (Cont.)

Positive Political Impacts

Minimize Environmental Impacts

Minimize groundwater contamination

Minimize roadbed damage

Minimize visual impacts from storage

Fulfill government commitments

Increase

public acceptability

Increase public confidence

Maintain land resources for plants

Equity of Risks

Among groups (public, transportation workers, industry workers)

Geographical

slide19
Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy of the Public Interest Panel

Minimize Health and Safety Impacts

Minimize Environmental Impacts

Minimize transportation effects

Minimize impacts on future generations

Minimize radiation effects

Minimize impacts on biosphere (from radiation release)

Maintain land resources for plants

Genetic effects

To the public

To the public

Reduce psychological impacts

Cancer

To the workers

To the workers

Reduce fears and anxieties

Increase assurance of a compensation system

slide20
Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy of the Public Interest Panel (Cont.)

Increase Fairness and Equity

Positive Political Impacts

Increase

political acceptability

Reduce need for regulation/

inspection

Increase resilience against

Increase equity between risk bearers and beneficiaries of nuclear power

Increase equity between present and future generations

Regulatory changes

Political changes

Improve Liability and compensation

slide21
Combined Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy

Minimize Costs

Minimize Health and Safety Impacts

Minimize indirect economic costs

Minimize direct economic costs

Minimize transportation effects

Minimize impacts on future generations

Minimize radiation effects

Costs of state and local responses to the system

State costs

Federal costs

Genetic effects

To the public

To the public

Court costs, regulatory costs, etc.

Utility company costs

Cancer

To the workers

To the workers

Road maintenance costs

slide22
Combined Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy (Cont.)

Minimize Environmental Impacts

Minimize groundwater contamination

Minimize roadbed damage

Minimize visual impacts from storage

Maintain land resources for plants

Minimize impacts on biosphere

Positive Political Impacts

Increase resilience against

Positive local and state attitudes

Fulfill government commitments

Reduce need for regulation/

inspection

Increase public confidence

Regulatory changes

Government

Political changes

Technical system

slide23
Combined Fundamental Objectives Hierarchy (Cont.)

Positive Social Impacts

Positive impacts on transportation system

Reduce fears and anxieties

Improve aesthetics

Increase Fairness and Equity

Increase equity

Improve Liability and compensation

Public, transportation workers, industry workers

Geographical

Risk bearers and beneficiaries of nuclear power

Present and future generations

slide24
Means Objectives

Minimize Court costs, regulatory costs, etc.

Minimize costs of state and local responses to the system

Minimize radiation effects

Minimize impacts on future generations

Minimize road maintenance costs

Minimize transportation and handling accidents

Minimize utility company costs

Minimize transportation and handling

Minimize transportation effects

Reduce fears and anxieties

slide25
Means Objectives

Minimize impacts on future generations

Minimize radiation effects

Minimize impacts on biosphere

Minimize groundwater contamination

Minimize vulnerability to sabotage

Reduce fears and anxieties

Increase public confidence

Minimize costs of state and local responses to the system

Minimize court costs, regulatory costs, etc.

Minimize utility company costs

slide26
Means Objectives

Fulfill government commitments

Reduce fears and anxieties

Increase public confidence

Positive local and state attitudes

Open, honest and clear communication

references
References
  • Keeney, R.L. (1992). Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decision Making. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Keeney, R.L. (1994). Creativity in Decision Making with Value-Focused Thinking. Sloan Management Review, 35(4), 33-41.
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