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Analysis of Complex Decisionmaking Processes

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2 Author(s)

The analysis of corporate decisionmaking processes related to major system developments is unusually difficult because of the number of decisionmakers involved in the process and the long development cycle. A method for analyzing such decision processes is developed and illustrated through its application to the analysis of the commercial jet engine development process. The method uses interaction matrices as the key tool for structuring the problem, recording data, and analyzing the data to establish the rank order of the major factors affecting development decisions. In the example, the use of interaction matrices permitted analysts to collect and analyze approximately 50 factors that influenced decisions during the four phases of the development cycle, and to determine the key influencers of decisions at each development phase. The results of this study indicate that the cost of new technology installed on an aircraft is the prime concern of the engine manufacturer. Also, the manufacturer is strongly influenced by his customers during the initial stage of the development; however, once the development program has been accepted, the technical manager has the strongest influence on the development of the new product. The application of the interaction matrix is shown to be a viable method to structure and analyze the complex process of decisionmaking in a high technology industry such as the commercial aircraft engine industry.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 3 )