The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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A Method to Ensure Preference Consistency in Multiattribute Selection Decisions

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2007
Type of Publication: Proceedings
Authors: Kulok, Michael; Lewis, Kemper
A number of approaches for multi-attribute selection decisions exist, each with certain advantages and disadvantages. One method that has recently been developed, called the hypothetical equivalents and inequivalents method (HEIM) supports a decision maker (DM) by implicitly determining the importances a DM places on attributes using a series of simple preference statements. In this and other multi-attribute selection methods, establishing consistent preferences is critical in order for a DM to be confident in his/her decision and its validity. In this paper, a general preference consistency method is developed, which is used to ensure that a consistent preference structure exists for a given DM. The method is demonstrated as part of HEIM, but is generalizable to any cardinal or ordinal preference structure, where the preferences can be over alternatives or attributes. These structures play an important role in making selection decisions in engineering design including selecting design concepts, materials, manufacturing processes, and configurations, among others. The theoretical foundations of the method are developed and the need for consistent preferences is illustrated in the application to a drill selection case study where the decision maker expresses inconsistent preferences. DOI: 10.1115/1.2761921
ASME Journal of Mechanical Design