Standard Article

Defining Objectives and Criteria for Decision Problems

  1. Jason R. W. Merrick

Published Online: 14 JAN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470400531.eorms0235

Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

How to Cite

Merrick, J. R. W. 2011. Defining Objectives and Criteria for Decision Problems. Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science. .

Author Information

  1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Statistical Sciences and Operations Research, Richmond, Virginia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2011

Abstract

The first step in analyzing a decision is to define what the decision maker wants to achieve. Generating a broad and comprehensive set of objectives leads to a wider focus in our consideration of alternatives and hence results in better decisions. However, several studies show that decision makers are not good at defining all the objectives that they should consider. This article introduces the concepts that help us understand decision makers' objectives and reviews the literature on the problems encountered in defining objectives and on how to overcome them. Examples from the author's research are used to illustrate the concepts discussed.

Keywords:

  • decision making;
  • decision context;
  • means objective;
  • fundamental objective;
  • strategic objective