ArticlePDF Available

Preference Analysis and Decision Support in Negotiations and Group Decisions

Authors:
Group Decis Negot (2017) 26:649–652
DOI 10.1007/s10726-017-9538-6
Preference Analysis and Decision Support
in Negotiations and Group Decisions
AdielT.deAlmeida
1·Tomasz Wachowicz2
Published online: 21 June 2017
© The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication
1 Introduction
Making individual decisions is often challenging because the decision maker needs
to take into consideration many different alternatives and conflicting issues (criteria)
at the same time. The situation becomes even more challenging when decisions need
to be made jointly or negotiated by many decision makers, each having their own
viewpoints, preferences, aspirations or reservation levels. To find decision that would
satisfy, at least partially, the needs of all parties involved, quantitative measurements
may be introduced that allow the expression of the decision makers’ preferences in a
more precise (numerical) way. Such measurements facilitate the analysis of how well
the different alternatives meet the parties’ goals and find those that build an equilibrium
from the viewpoint of mutual quality and effectiveness.
Various formal methods and techniques may be applied for supporting group deci-
sion makers and the negotiators in defining their goals, eliciting preferences and
building the quantitative scoring systems required to evaluate the alternatives. They
are mainly derived from the field of the multiple criteria decision making/aiding
(MCDM/A; Figuera et al. 2005) and game theory (Brams 2003). However, they need
to be modified and adopted so that they fit the context of negotiation and group decision
making, and meet the cognitive and perceptional capabilities of all parties involved
BAdiel T. de Almeida
almeida@cdsid.org.br
BTomasz Wachowicz
tomasz.wachowicz@ue.katowice.pl
1Center for Decision Systems and Information Development, Universidade Federal de
Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
2Department of Operations Research, University of Economics in Katowice, Katowice, Poland
123
650 A. T. de Almeida, T. Wachowicz
in the decision making process, as required by the principles of negotiation analysis
(Raiffa et al. 2002). Recent group decision and negotiation literature provides many
examples of research focused on both methodological and organizational issues and
referring to the real-world examples or experimental results. For instance, the dedicated
context dependent algorithms and protocols for structuring group decision or negoti-
ation problems and processes are developed taking into account various viewpoints
represented by all stakeholders involved [e.g. Bichler et al. (2003), Eden (2004)]. New
methods and techniques for preference elicitation and scoring systems formation take
into account the negotiation process dynamics, imprecise preference information and
a changeable nature of the problems [e.g. Guo et al. (2003), Roszkowska and Wachow-
icz (2015)]. The issues of preference aggregation in a multi-party context are studied
in order to find a balance between classic group decision consensual approach and
majority or plurality recommendations resulting from various voting procedures [e.g.
Kadzi´nski et al. (2013), Morais and Almeida (2012), Nurmi (2002)]. There are also
studies devoted to the empirical verification of various decision making approaches,
focused on confirming or falsifying the current paradigms and concepts [e.g. Danielson
et al. (2008), Vetschera (2007)].
Within this special issue five papers reporting on novel research are presented; each
focuses on selected issues of multiple group decision making processes and problem.
2 Articles in this Issue
In the first paper Antonio Jimenez-Martin, Eduardo Gallego, Alfonso Mateos and
Juan A. Fernandez del Pozo present an extension of the additive multi-attribute utility
model with veto values that is used to solve a problem of the restoration of an aquatic
ecosystem contaminated by radionuclides. The problem they consider involves partial,
imprecise or incomplete information about the alternative performances and decision
makers’ preferences, which result in a degree of uncertainty. Hence, they implement
a dominance measuring method to determine the individual rankings for decision
makers and aggregate them into a collective decision taking into account their relative
importance. The use of the veto concept in MCDM/A has received attention in recent
studies, particularly for its applicability in additive aggregation models, dealing with
the compensatory effects of such models, when they are unattractive from the decision
makers’ preferences point of view.
The second paper is focused on the verification of using surrogate weights in multi-
ple criteria decision making. Mats Danielson and Love Eckenberg examine a problem
of determining a reliable system of criteria weights out of the preferential informa-
tion provided by the decision makers in ordinal way, and verify the performance of
selected techniques that operate with surrogate weights. They use different conver-
sions of ordinal defined weights into their cardinal equivalents, among others, the
rank sum, rank reciprocal and centroid based weights, and compare their robustness
using simulation-based approach. This work explores the use of partial information for
preference modeling, which has received a growing attention in literature due to the
possibility of reducing elicitation errors when requiring less information from decision
makers.
123
Preference Analysis and Decision Support in Negotiations... 651
The third paper considers the multi objective optimization problems. Miłosz
Kadzi´nski and Michał K. Tomczyk focus on hybridizing the interactive and evolution-
ary approach to solving optimization problems assuming that the preference model
is obtained from the decision makers in indirect way, i.e. using the preference dis-
aggregation approach. Developing their extensions of NEMO-GROUP method they
analyze various ways of determining the compromising solutions with respect to dif-
ferent representative functions derived for individual decision makers or jointly for
the whole group of decision makers. They simulate the efficacy of their methods using
several problems with different numbers of objectives and decision makers and their
pre-defined individual value functions. This way they show that NEMO-GROUP is
quite a flexible support tool and that the workload related to the number of pairwise
comparisons may be decreased by adjusting the elicitation interval and starting gen-
eration of the elicitation.
In the fourth paper Marcella Maia Urtiga, Danielle Costa Morais, Keith W. Hipel and
Marc Kilgour analyze the problem of supporting the watershed committees in choosing
among combinations of alternatives. They developed a method that allows to rank the
combinations of alternatives individually for each decision maker first and then to
aggregate the individual results into a group decision applying the voting mechanism.
The option prioritizing approach is used to elicit the decision makers’ individual
preferences during an interactive procedure and by means of ordinal judgements.
Then the weighted voting system that implements the classification by quartile is used
to find what can be called a fair mutual solution. As an example of using the proposed
approach the problem of choosing the alternative to prevent the watershed degradation
in Brazil is analyzed.
Acknowledgements We are deeply grateful to our reviewers and advisors for giving their feedback to the
authors of our special issue papers. We truly believe that their thorough comments and suggestions played
a significant role in improving all the submissions and make our special issue a valuable contribution to
group decision and negotiation literature.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Interna-
tional License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution,
and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the
source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
References
Bichler M, Kersten G, Strecker S (2003) Towards a structured design of electronic negotiations. Group
Decis Negot 12(4):311–335
Brams SJ (2003) Negotiation games: applying game theory to bargaining and arbitration. Routledge, London
Danielson M, Ekenberg L, Ekengren A, Hökby T, Lidén J (2008) Decision process support for participatory
democracy. J Multicrit Decis Mak 15(1–2):15–30
Eden C (2004) Analyzing cognitive maps to help structure issues or problems. Eur J Oper Res 159(3):673–
686
Figuera J, Greco S, Ehrgott M (eds) (2005) Multiple criteria decision analysis: state of the art. Springer
Verlag, Boston
Guo Y, Müller JP, Weinhardt C (2003) Learning user preferences for multi-attribute negotiation: an evo-
lutionary approach. In: Proceedings of international central and eastern European Conference on
multi-agent systems, Springer, pp 303–313
123
652 A. T. de Almeida, T. Wachowicz
Kadzi´nski M, Greco S, Słowi ´nski R (2013) Selection of a representative value function for robust ordinal
regression in group decision making. Group Decis Negot 22(3):429–462
Morais DC, de Almeida AT (2012) Group decision making on water resources based on analysis of individual
rankings. Omega 40(1):42–52
Nurmi H (2002) Voting procedures under uncertainty. Springer, Berlin
Raiffa H, Richardson J, Metcalfe D (2002) Negotiation analysis: the science and art of collaborative decision
making. The Balknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge
Roszkowska E, Wachowicz T (2015) Application of fuzzy TOPSIS to scoring the negotiation offers in
ill-structured negotiation problems. Eur J Oper Res 242(5):920–932
Vetschera R (2007) Preference structures and negotiator behavior in electronic negotiations. Decis Support
Syst 44(1):135–146
123
... In general, the negotiation problems are discussed in a wide bibliography. The exemplary papers of Kersten (1988), Kersten and Lai (2007), Kruś (2001), de Almeida and Wachowicz (2017), Wachowicz, Kersten and Roszkowska (2019), Wierzbicki, Kruś and Makowski (1993) present different aspects of negotiations, including analysis, procedures, decision support and enegotiation systems. ...
... The negotiation problems are discussed in a wide bibliography. The exemplary papers (see Kersten, 1988;Kersten and Lai, 2007;de Almeida and Wachowicz, 2017;Wachowicz, Kersten and Roszkowska, 2019) present different aspects of the negotiations including analysis, procedures, decision support and e-negotiation systems. ...
Article
Full-text available
A decision-making process is considered for a firm, in which two coexisting groups of interests pursue different goals. An original model based on a non-neoclassical production function is proposed. The function satisfies the conditions formulated by R. Frisch, which makes it possible to investigate firms operating in the environment far from the perfect competition and pursuing goals other than profit maximization. A two-criteria optimization problem is formulated with the two criteria representing the goals of the groups: maximization of profit and maximization of income generated by the firm with respect to capital and labor. The problem is considered in two variants of the product market, namely the perfect and the imperfect competition. Solutions of the problem are analyzed including the derived Pareto sets. The importance of knowledge about the Pareto set in negotiations between the groups of interests in the firm is illustrated and discussed.
Article
One of the significant challenges in the Procurement area of large companies is the prioritization of demands, given the high volume of daily requests and the reduced amount of labor. Therefore, it is necessary to seek a service strategy to meet all demands promptly and with the required quality. Therefore, this study aims to sort requisitions into service priorities according to the urgency in the generation of purchase orders. Through the Value-Focused Thinking (VFT) approach, it is possible to extract the understanding of values by experts by developing a hierarchy of fundamental objectives and a network of objectives. Then, to evaluate the alternatives because of the established criteria, the Multi-criteria Decision Support Method THOR 2 is used for its ability to perform the ordering of alternatives. With this work, we exposes an approach to support decision-making processes regarding the prioritization of demands in various sectors and companies.
Article
The linear model practiced in developing countries as Brazil to solid waste management can no longer absorb the amount of waste generated by the cities’ economic activities, and it hinders the self-recovery ability of the environment leading to environmental problems. Consequently, it is necessary a transition to a circular economy model so that environmental problems may be avoided. Brazilian authorities have already been mobilized to seek ways to transitioning, and one way is centered on reverse logistics and shared responsibility for solid waste management laid down in Law No. 12,305/2010. However, this transition does not occur smoothly due to solid waste management in Brazil involves different segments of society, which implies different responsibilities for each segment, as well as a good interaction between them, but there is not an adequate approach to define the responsibilities. Therefore, this study seeks to develop a collaborative approach capable of defining responsibilities towards solid waste management. The proposed approach embedded three methods: Value Focused Thinking, Flexible and Interactive Tradeoff, and Shapley value. The approach was applied to a craft brewery located in a northeastern Brazilian city. The findings show that segments were able to define sustainable responsibilities for the tactical performance of solid waste management in transitioning to a circular economy.
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a new ordinal method to rank alternatives with multiple criteria and decision makers (DMs). This is a decision group ordinal method called SAPEVO-M, an acronym for Simple Aggregation of Preferences Expressed by Ordinal Vectors Group Decision Making. SAPEVO-M method allows for the aggregation of DM' preference rankings into a consensus ranking and expresses the DM' degrees of importance in the form of a rank order. It was developed for dealing with purely ordinal criteria and it is also applicable to situations in which ordinal and cardinal criteria are intermixed. A free version of the method was made available on the internet.
Chapter
Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) allows to establish preferences about multiple options by considering both qualitative and quantitative data. MCDA is structured in main stages aimed at supporting Decision-Makers (DMs) to establish the decision context, elicit main objectives, explore potential decisions by assessing their performances and to take a final decision. Within the decision context concerning the location of healthcare facilities, four main steps of the stages characterizing the MCDA have been investigated given their relevance in affecting the decision problem, namely the presence of a variety of stakeholders, the definition of a consistent set of criteria, the choice of the criteria weight elicitation procedure and the selection of an aggregation procedure. The purpose of the contribution is to present some prominent existing methodologies aimed at developing the four steps identified in order to detect strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, given the nature of the decision problem, main features of the spatial analysis will be discussed.
Book
The book examines an integrated approach for addressing decisions about the location of healthcare facilities. Supported by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), the approach provides comprehensive information on territory, taking into account the spatial dimensions. Due to the multiple criteria involved, site selection for urban facilities is a crucial topic in planning decision processes, especially for healthcare facilities. Healthcare provision policies generally fail to address the distribution of facilities within cities, entrusting decisions to various stakeholders. Moreover current evaluation tools focus on the intrinsic performances of healthcare structures, disregarding the extrinsic characteristics, namely those related to the location. Starting with a cross-disciplinary literature review, the book describes a multi-methodological approach for decision-making regarding the location of healthcare facilities, and presents an innovative evaluation tool that simultaneously considers functional, locational, environmental and economic issues, providing a comprehensive overview of the areas under investigation.
Article
An integrative multi-attribute model was developed to define individual solid waste management (SWM) actions that make viable the shared responsibility (SR) implementation foreseen in the National Policy of Solid Waste (NPSW). SR for the product life cycle is a concept that represents a paradigm shift in developing countries, like Brazil, placing SWM as a national priority. This concept extends the responsibility for SWM beyond manufacturers, including other stakeholders such as consumers and public authorities. These multiple agents with different points of view make the definition of responsibilities a complex task. Thus, the model was developed in three phases: Pre-negotiation, Negotiation and Post-negotiation. In the first two phases, a multi-methodology to structure the problem, stimulate collaboration, integrate stakeholder perspectives and preferences into a learning process was proposed. The responsibilities were defined through a multi-attribute evaluation. A Pareto-efficient decision for all stakeholders, simultaneously, was achieved. Finally, a strong engagement between stakeholders, and an effective commitment to the viability of SR was achieved.
Chapter
With the aim of enhancing the level of sustainability of plans and programmes adopted by local, regional and national authorities, the European Commission (EU) has adopted the Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of effects of plans and programmes on the environment. Starting from the analysis of strengths and possible uses of Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and the investigation of its application in combination with the SWOT Analysis and the Stakeholder Analysis, the paper aims at presenting a multi-methodological approach based on the use of MCA for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Given the spatial nature of the decision problem the multi-methodological approach is moreover combined with Geographic Information System (GIS). The Multicriteria-Spatial Decision Support System (MC-SDSS) proposed is able to support the decision-making processes in the field of environmental management by providing evidence and increasing the level of choices’ transparency and legitimacy.
Chapter
This paper presents an interactive Decision Support System for solving multicriteria group decision-making (MCGDM) problems, based on partial information obtained from the decision makers (DMs). The decision support tool was built based on the concept of flexible elicitation of the FITradeoff method, with graphical visualization features and a user-friendly interface. The decision model is based on searching for dominance relations between alternatives, according to the preferential information obtained from the decision-makers from tradeoff questions. A partial (or complete) ranking of the alternatives is built based on these dominance relations, which are obtained from linear programming models. The system shows, at each interaction, an overview of the process, with the partial results for all decision-makers. The visualization of the individual rankings by all DMs can help them to achieve an agreement during the process, since they will be able to see how their preferred alternatives are in the ranking of the other DMs. The applicability of the system is illustrated here with a problem for selecting a package to improve safety of oil tankers.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we introduce the concept of a representative value function in a group decision context. We extend recently proposed methods UTAGMS-GROUP and UTADISGMS-GROUP with selection of a compromise and collective preference model which aggregates preferences of several decision makers (DMs) and represents all instances of preference models compatible with preference information elicited from DMs. The representative value function is built on results of robust ordinal regression, so its representativeness can be interpreted in terms of robustness concern. We propose a few procedures designed for multiple criteria ranking, choice, and sorting problems. The use of these procedures is conditioned by both satisfying different degrees of consistency of the preference information provided by all DMs, as well as by some properties of particular decision making situations. The representative value function is intended to help the DMs to understand the robust results, and to provide them with a compromise result in case of conflict between the DMs.
Book
1. Choice Theory and Constitutional Design.- 1.1 Theories and Models.- 1.2 Applying Social Choice Theory.- 1.3 Varying Assumptions.- 2. Chaotic Behavior of Models.- 2.1 The U.S. Presidential Elections.- 2.2 Referendum Paradox and the Properties of Majority Rule.- 2.3 How Chaotic Can It Get?.- 3. Results Based on Standard Model.- 3.1 Voting Procedures.- 3.2 Performance Criteria.- 3.3 Chaos, Strategy and Self Correction.- 4. Aggregating Voting Probabilities and Judgments.- 4.1 Avoiding Arrow's Theorem via Average Rule.- 4.2 Condorcet's Jury Theorem.- 4.3 Relaxing the Independence Assumption.- 4.4 Optimal Jury Decision Making.- 4.5 Thought Experiment: Council of Ministers as a Jury.- 5. Condorcet's Rule and Preference Proximity.- 5.1 Condorcet's Rule.- 5.2 Measuring Preference Similarity.- 5.3 Preference Proximity and Other Desiderata.- 5.4 Ranking and Choice Rules.- 5.5 Kemeny, Dodgson and Slater.- 6. Responses to Changes in Voter Opinions.- 6.1 Monotonicity, Maskin-Monotonicity and No-Show Paradox 92.- 6.2 The Strong No-Show Paradox.- 6.3 Qualified Majorities and No-Show Paradox.- 6.4 Monotonicity Violations of Voting Systems.- 6.5 Preference Truncation Paradox.- 6.6 Preference Misrepresentation.- 7. Mos Docendi Geometricus.- 7.1 The British Parliamentary Elections of 2001.- 7.2 Critique of Condorcet's Intuition.- 7.3 Profile Decomposition.- 7.4 Berlin vs. Bonn Vote Revisited.- 8. Conclusions.- List of Figures 139 List of Tables.- Author Index.
Article
In this paper we analyze the applicability of the TOPSIS method to support the process of building the scoring system for negotiation offers in ill-structured negotiations. When discussing the ill-structured negotiation problem we consider two major issues: the imprecisely defined negotiation space, and the vagueness of the negotiator's preferences that cannot be defined by means of crisp values. First we introduce the traditional fuzzy TOPSIS model showing the alternative ways of normalizing the data and measuring the distances, which allows to avoid the problem of ranking reversals. Then we formalize ill-structured negotiations using a model which allows the negotiation problem to be defined in a simplified way by means of the aspiration and reservation levels only. Such a definition requires changes in the traditional fuzzy TOPSIS algorithm the development of a mechanism for scoring the offers that fall outside of the negotiation space defined independently and subjectively by the negotiator. We propose three different approaches to handle this problem, that keep the scoring system stable and unchanged throughout the whole negotiation process.
Article
This paper presents a project and case study integrating decision methods into democratic processes. The case discussed is a set of three complicated decisions in a municipality in Sweden. The decisions had been postponed on several occasions prior to bringing in the method described in the paper. The method employed consists of two main parts. The interaction part contains the communication channels directed to the stakeholders. The decision-process part consists of a three-layered working process model. As a part of the method, the project was highly visible on the web. Citizens were encouraged to submit material to the project. All intermediate results of the process were continuously published, enhancing transparency. For each decision, the analysis consisted of comparing all alternatives, taking the respective criteria into account as weighted or ranked by the participants. A method for recording compromises analytically was also used. The purpose was not to replace the political process but to support it in a structured way. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
In problems to do with managing water resources multiple decision makers are involved, each acting in their own right and using different value systems. In the literature on management science, several procedures are proposed in order to establish a collective preference based on the aggregation of different individual preferences. However, the well-known methods that focus on a single winner have some inconveniences that should be addressed. This paper is focused on a group decision making procedure based on the analysis of individual rankings with the aim of choosing an appropriate alternative for a water resources problem. This alternative is found to be the best compromise from the points of view of all actors involved in the decision problem. The structure of the method is set out as is its application to the water resources problem. A comparison with other methods is presented and discussed.
Article
Global communication networks and advances in information technology enable the design of information systems facilitating effective formulation and efficient resolution of negotiation problems. Increasingly, these systems guide negotiators in clarifying the relevant issues, provide media for offer formulation and exchange, and help in achieving an agreement. In practice, the task of analysing, modelling, designing and implementing electronic negotiation media demands a systematic, traceable and reproducible approach. An engineering approach to media specification and construction has these characteristics. In this paper, we provide a rationale for the engineering approach that allows pragmatic adoption of economic and social sciences perspectives on negotiated decisions for the purpose of supporting and undertaking electronic negotiations. Similarities and differences of different theories that underlie on-going studies of electronic negotiations are identified. This provides a basis for integration of different theories and approaches for the specific purpose of the design of effective electronic negotiations. Drawing on diverse streams of literature in different fields such as economics, management, computer, and behavioural sciences, we present an example of an integration of three significant streams of theoretical and applied research involving negotiations, traditional auctions and on-line auctions.
Article
This paper discusses how cognitive maps might be analyzed for the purpose of structuring problems or issues. The paper suggests what the various analysis methods imply for an operational research practitioner when helping a client work on a “messy” issue or problem.
Conference Paper
This paper investigates how agents that act on behalf of users in electronic negotiations can elicit the required information about their users’ preference structures. Based on a multi-attribute utility theoretic model of user preferences, we propose an algorithm that enables an agent to learn the utility function over time, taking knowledge gathered about the user into account. The method combines an evolutionary learning with the application of external knowledge and local search. The algorithm learns a complete multi-attribute utility function, consisting of the attribute weights and the individual attribute utility functions. Empirical tests show that the algorithm provides a good learning performance.