Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 99–126 | Cite as

A Value-Focused Multiple Participant-Multiple Criteria (MPMC) Decision Support Approach for Public Policy Formulation

  • Colin WilliamsEmail author
  • Liping Fang


A decision support framework for policy formulation that incorporates a value-focused, multiple participant-multiple criteria (MPMC) approach is presented to address the systemic over-reliance of financial assessments as the primary decision support model. The proposed approach provides a robust decision support framework for aiding complex public decision-making processes involving conflicting multiple decision-makers (as participants) and values. Participant values are used to determine viable options which in turn determine feasible policy recommendations. Values also determine participant preferences. Through the application of the Graph Model of Conflict Resolution, policy-makers can generate viable and stable policy recommendations. In contrast to focusing solely on alternatives, this framework ensures that policy-makers review scenarios that align with organizational values and objectives, thereby producing informed policy decisions. Further, the framework is applied within a case study involving the City of Toronto, Canada, where policy recommendations to privatize curbside waste collection services were being considered. The framework incorporates multiple participant perspectives and their associated criteria, in lieu of traditional financial assessments (e.g., cost–benefit analysis). This study further demonstrates the usefulness and practicality of incorporating a value-focused, MPMC approach for the derivation of good public policy.


Multiple participant-multiple criteria (MPMC) decision making Participant Public policy Stakeholder Strategic alignment Values 



The authors would like to express their sincere appreciation to the anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions and comments which enhanced the quality of their paper.


  1. Akter T, Simonovic SP (2005) Aggregation of fuzzy views of a large number of stakeholders for multi-objective flood management decision-making. J Environ Manag 77:133–143. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baudry G, Macharis C, Vallée T (2018) Range-based multi-actor multi-criteria analysis: a combined method of multi-actor multi-criteria analysis and Monte Carlo simulation to support participatory decision making under uncertainty. Eur J Oper Res 264:257–269. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bianchi A, Barnett J, Dempsey W, Giachinta M, Hugenberg M, Talley A (2016) Applying value-focused thinking to a make versus buy decision. Ind Syst Eng Rev 4:171–177Google Scholar
  4. Borsuk M, Clemen R, Maguire L, Reckhow K (2001) Stakeholder values and scientific modeling in the Neuse River Watershed. Group Decis Negot 10:355–373. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boyne GA (1998) The determinants of variations in local service contracting garbage in, garbage out? Urban Aff Rev 34:150–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bronsteen J, Buccafusco C, Masur JS (2013) Well-being analysis vs. cost-benefit analysis. Duke Law J 62:1603–1645Google Scholar
  7. City of Toronto (2013) Advancing council’s strategic plan—strategic actions for 2013–2018. City of Toronto, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  8. City of Toronto (2015) Curbside waste collection services review: comparison of curbside waste collection services East and West of Yonge Street. City of Toronto, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  9. Fang L, Hipel KW, Kilgour DM (1993) Interactive decision making: the graph model for conflict resolution. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Fang L, Hipel KW, Kilgour MD, Peng X (2003a) A decision support system for interactive decision making—part I: model formulation. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Part C Appl Rev 33:42–55. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fang L, Hipel KW, Kilgour DM, Peng X (2003b) A decision support system for interactive decision making—part II: analysis and output interpretation. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Part C Appl Rev 33:56–66. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferretti V (2016) From stakeholders analysis to cognitive mapping and multi-attribute value theory: an integrated approach for policy support. Eur J Oper Res 253:524–541. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Firouzabadi SMAK, Henson B, Barnes C (2008) A multiple stakeholders’ approach to strategic selection decisions. Comput Ind Eng 54:851–865. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Freeman R (1984) Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Pitman, BostonGoogle Scholar
  15. Hämäläinen RP, Kettunen E, Ehtamo H, Marttunen M (2001) Evaluating a framework for multi-stakeholder decision support in water resources management. Group Decis Negot 10:331–353. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. He S, Kilgour DM, Hipel KW, Bashar MA (2013) A basic hierarchical graph model for conflict resolution with application to water diversion conflicts in China. INFOR 51:103–119. Google Scholar
  17. Hipel KW, Radford KJ, Fang L (1993) Multiple participant-multiple criteria decision making. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern 23:1184–1189. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hipel KW, Kilgour DM, Fang L, Peng X (1997) The decision support system GMCR in environmental conflict management. Appl Math Comput 83:117–152. Google Scholar
  19. Hipel KW, Kilgour DM, Fang L, Peng X (2001) Strategic decision support for the services industry. IEEE Trans Eng Manag 48:358–369. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hipel KW, Fang L, Heng M (2010) System of systems approach to policy development for global food security. J Syst Sci Syst Eng 19:1–21. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hipel KW, Kilgour DM, Fang L (2011) The graph model for conflict resolution. Wiley Encycl Oper Res Manag Sci 3:2099–2111Google Scholar
  22. Hobbs BF, Meier P (2000) Energy decisions and the environment, a guide to the use of multicriteria methods. Kluwer Academic Publishers, NorwellCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Howlett M, Ramesh M, Perl A (2009) Studying public policy, policy cycles and policy subsystems, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, Don MillsGoogle Scholar
  24. Huang IB, Keisler J, Linkov I (2011) Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: ten years of applications and trends. Sci Total Environ 409:3578–3594. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Karnis M, Bristow M, Fang L (2015) Controversy over the International Upper Great Lakes Study recommendations: pathways towards cooperation. In: Kaminski B, Kersten GE, Szapiro T (eds) Outlooks and insights on group decision and negotiation: proceedings of the 15th international conference on group decision and negotiation (GDN 2015). Springer, Heidelberg, pp 255–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Keeney RL (1992) Value-focused thinking. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Keeney RL (1994) Creativity in decision making with value-focused thinking. Sloan Manag Rev 35:33–41Google Scholar
  28. Keeney RL (1996) Value-focused thinking: identifying decision opportunities and creating alternatives. Eur J Oper Res 92:537–549. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keeney RL (2015) Understanding and using the group decision analysis model. In: Kaminski B, Kersten GE, Szapiro T (eds) Outlooks and insights on group decision and negotiation: proceedings of the 15th international conference on group decision and negotiation (GDN 2015). Springer, Heidelberg, pp 77–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kunz RE, Siebert J, Mütterlein J (2016) Combining value-focused thinking and balanced scorecard to improve decision-making in strategic management. J Multi Criteria Decis Anal 23:225–241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Li KK, Abelson J, Giacomini M, Contandriopoulos D (2015) Conceptualizing the use of public involvement in health policy decision-making. Soc Sci Med 138:14–21. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marttunen M, Mustajoki J, Dufva M, Karjalainen TP (2015) How to design and realize participation of stakeholders in MCDA processes? A framework for selecting an appropriate approach. EURO J Decis Process 3:187–214. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Merrick J, Garcia M (2004) Using value-focused thinking to improve watersheds. J Am Plan Assoc 70:313–328. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mihai A, Marincea A, Ekenberg L (2015) A MCDM analysis of the Roşia Montană gold mining project. Sustainability 7:7261–7288. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sahin O, Mohamed S, Warnken J, Rahman A (2013) Assessment of sea-level rise adaptation options: multiple-criteria decision-making approach involving stakeholders. Struct Surv 31:283–300. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Scott J, Ho W, Dey PK, Talluri S (2015) A decision support system for supplier selection and order allocation in stochastic, multi-stakeholder and multi-criteria environments. Int J Prod Econ 166:226–237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Soltani A, Hewage K, Reza B, Sadiq R (2015) Multiple stakeholders in multi-criteria decision-making in the context of municipal solid waste management: a review. Waste Manag 35:318–328. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vejchodská E (2015) Cost-benefit analysis: too often biased. Bus Adm Manag 18:68–77. Google Scholar
  39. Yu J, Kilgour DM, Hipel KW, Zhao M (2015) Power asymmetry in conflict resolution with application to a water pollution dispute in China. Water Resour Res 51:8627–8645. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Applied Science and ManagementRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations