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Understanding multi-methodology: Evaluating the perceived impact of mixing methods for group budgetary decisions


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  • Franco, L. Alberto
  • Lord, Ewan
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    This paper reports on the design and implementation of a multi-methodology intervention intended to support a budget prioritisation decision by a multi-organisational group tasked with tackling the problem of teenage pregnancy in an English borough. The intervention approach involved the combined use of cognitive/causal mapping and a multi-criteria decision analysis method to develop and prioritise a number of projects aimed at alleviating issues associated with teenage pregnancy. The paper describes and discusses the process of developing and applying the intervention approach, and provides an evaluation of its perceived impact by the client group. Drawing on the rich seam of data gathered over the course of our work with the multi-organisational group, we explore the varying degrees of impact that the mapping and multi-criteria evaluation methods achieved during and after the intervention. Analysis of the intervention data suggests that both methods were perceived to facilitate a different way of thinking and learning. In addition, we find that the mapping and multi-criteria evaluation methods successfully addressed participants' democratic and rational concerns. However, despite these reported positive effects, the full recommendations of the intervention were not implemented. An attempt is made to explain this outcome in terms of both the multi-organisational context within which the intervention took place and the nature of the group task. Directions for further research are then proposed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Omega.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 362-372

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:362-372

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    Keywords: Group decisions Multi-methodology Cognitive/causal mapping Multi-criteria decision analysis Evaluation Intervention;


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    1. Poyhonen, Mari & Vrolijk, Hans & Hamalainen, Raimo P., 2001. "Behavioral and procedural consequences of structural variation in value trees," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 216-227, October.
    2. Mingers, John & Brocklesby, John, 1997. "Multimethodology: Towards a framework for mixing methodologies," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 489-509, October.
    3. Jackson, MC, 1987. "Present positions and future prospects in management science," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 455-466.
    4. Keys, Paul, 2000. "Creativity, design and style in MS/OR," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 303-312, June.
    5. Barcus, Ana & Montibeller, Gilberto, 2008. "Supporting the allocation of software development work in distributed teams with multi-criteria decision analysis," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 464-475, June.
    6. Langley, A, 1991. "Formal analysis and strategic decision making," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 79-99.
    7. Eden, Colin, 2004. "Analyzing cognitive maps to help structure issues or problems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 159(3), pages 673-686, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Cronin, Karen & Midgley, Gerald & Jackson, Laurie Skuba, 2014. "Issues Mapping: A problem structuring method for addressing science and technology conflicts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(1), pages 145-158.
    2. Morais, Danielle C. & de Almeida, Adiel Teixeira, 2012. "Group decision making on water resources based on analysis of individual rankings," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 42-52, January.
    3. Amado, Carla A.F. & Santos, Sérgio P. & Marques, Pedro M., 2012. "Integrating the Data Envelopment Analysis and the Balanced Scorecard approaches for enhanced performance assessment," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 390-403.
    4. Pang, Jifang & Liang, Jiye, 2012. "Evaluation of the results of multi-attribute group decision-making with linguistic information," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 294-301.


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