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Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking

Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking

by Ralph L. KeeneyRalph L. Keeney


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The standard way of thinking about decisions is backwards, says Ralph Keeney: people focus first on identifying alternatives rather than on articulating values. A problem arises and people react, placing the emphasis on mechanics and fixed choices instead of on the objectives that give decisionmaking its meaning. In this book, Keeney shows how recognizing and articulating fundamental values can lead to the identification of decision opportunities and the creation of better alternatives. The intent is to be proactive and to select more attractive decisions to ponder before attempting any solutions.

Keeney describes specific procedures for articulating values by identifying and structuring objectives qualitatively, and he shows how to apply these procedures in various cases. He then explains how to quantify objectives using simple models of values. Such value analysis, Keeney demonstrates, can yield a full range of alternatives, thus converting decision problems into opportunities. This approach can be used to uncover hidden objectives, to direct the collection of information, to improve communication, to facilitate collective decisionmaking, and to guide strategic thinking. To illustrate these uses, Keeney shows how value-focused thinking works in many business contexts, such as designing an integrated circuit tester and managing a multibillion-dollar utility company; in government contexts, such as planning future NASA space missions and deciding how to transport nuclear waste to storage sites; and in personal contexts, such as choosing career moves and making wise health and safety decisions.

An incisive, applicable contribution to the art and science of decisionmaking, Value-Focused Thinking will be extremely useful to anyone from consultants and managers to systems analysts and students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674931985
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 02/01/1996
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Ralph L. Keeney is Professor Emeritus of Information and Operations Management, Marshall School of Business, and of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering, at the University of Southern California. He is coauthor (with Howard Raiffa) of Decisions with Multiple Objectives, which was awarded the Lanchester Prize of the Operations Research Society of America.

Table of Contents

PART 1: Concepts

1. Thinking about Values

1.1 Value-Focused Thinking

1.2 Creating Alternatives

1.3 Identifying Decision Opportunities

1.4 Thinking about Values

1.5 The Uses of Value-Focused Thinking

2. The Framework of Value-Focused Thinking

2.1 Framing a Decision Situation

2.2 Fundamental Objectives

2.3 The Decision Context

2.4 Guiding Strategic Thinking and Action

2.5 The Framework

2.6 Comparing Alternative-Focused and Value-Focused Thinking

2.7 Ethics and Value Neutrality

Part 2: Foundations

3. Identifying and Structuring Objectives

3.1 Identifying Objectives

3.2 Identifying Fundamental Objectives

3.3 Structures of Objectives

3.4 How to Structure Objectives

3.5 Desirable Properties of Fundamental Objectives

3.6 Relating Objectives Hierarchies and Objectives Networks

3.7 Incomplete Objectives Hierarchies and Networks

3.8 Objectives Hierarchies for Groups

4. Measuring the Achievement of Objectives

4.1 The Concept of an Attribute

4.2 The Types of Attributes

4.3 Developing Constructed Attributes

4.4 Use of Proxy Attributes

4.5 Desirable Properties of Attributes

4.6 The Decision of Selecting Attributes

4.7 Connecting Decision Situations with Attributes

5. Quantifying Objectives with a Value Model

5.1 Building a Value Model

5.2 Multiple-Objective Value Models

5.3 Single-Objective Value Models

5.4 Prioritizing Objectives

5.5 The Art of Assessing Value Models

5.6 Issues to Consider in Value Assessments

Part 3: Uses

6. Uncovering Hidden Objectives

6.1 Insights from Attributes

6.2 Insights from Violations of Independence Assumptions

6.3 Insights from Value Tradeoffs

6.4 Insights from Single-Attribute Objective Functions

6.5 Insights from Multiple Value Assessments

7. Creating Alternatives for a Single Decisionmaker

7.1 Counteracting Cognitive Biases

7.2 Use of Objectives

7.3 Use of Strategic Objectives

7.4 Focus on High-Value Alternatives

7.5 Use of Evaluated Alternatives

7.6 Generic Alternatives

7.7 Coordinated Alternatives

7.8 Process Alternatives

7.9 Removing Constraints

7.10 Better Utilization of Resources

7.11 Screening to Identify Good Alternatives

7.12 Alternatives for a Series of Similar Decisions

8. Creating Alternatives for Multiple Decisionmakers

8.1 Pleasing Other Stakeholders

8.2 Stakeholder Influence on Your Consequences

8.3 Clarifying Stakeholder Values for Group Decisions

8.4 Creating Alternatives for Negotiations

9. Identifying Decision Opportunities

9.1 Use of Strategic Objectives

9.2 Use of Resources Available

9.3 A Broader Decision Context

9.4 Monitoring Achievement

9.5 Establishing a Process

9.6 Negotiating for Your Side and for the Other Side

9.7 Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

9.8 When You Have No Idea about What to Do

10. Insights for the Decisionmaking Process

10.1 Guiding Information Collection

10.2 Evaluating Alternatives

10.3 Interconnecting Decisions

10.4 Improving Communication

10.5 Facilitating Involvement in Multiple-Stakeholder Decisions

10.6 Guiding Strategic Thinking

Part 4: Applications

11. Selected Applications

11.1 NASA Leadership in Space

11.2 Transporting Nuclear Waste

11.3 Research on Climate Change

11.4 Air Pollution in Los Angeles

11.5 Design of Integrated Circuit Testers

11.6 Collaborating on a Book

12. Value-Focused Thinking at British Columbia Hydra

12.1 Identification and Structuring of the Strategic Objectives

12.2 First Revision of the Strategic Objectives and the Preliminary Attributes

12.3 Current Version of the Strategic Objectives and Attributes

12.4 The Quantitative Value Assessment

12.5 Insights from the Value Assessment

12.6 Decision Opportunities

13. Value-Focused Thinking for My Decisions

13.1 Strategic Objectives for Life

13.2 Guiding Involvement in Professional Activities

13.3 Decisions about Health and Safety

13.4 Professional Decisions

13.5 Personal Decisions

13.6 Value-Focused Thinking and You


Index of Applications and Examples

General Index

Customer Reviews