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A problem-structuring method for complex societal decisions: Its philosophical and psychological dimensions

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  • Hector, Donald
  • Christensen, Carleton
  • Petrie, Jim

Abstract

A novel approach to problem-structuring for decisions relating to the sustainable development of large-scale infrastructure is presented. The philosophical (a critical realist ontology and epistemology), psychological (implications of behavioural and cognitive psychology), and systems dimensions (dynamics and emergent properties) of the problem are discussed, and form the basis of the approach. The problem is structured as a system of "trilemmas" (a means of representing and criticising sets of three competing forces), representing different aspects of the problem and considered in the context of a number of problem dimensions. A case study relating to the development of a sustainable water system for a major Australian metropolis is developed to test the value of the approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Hector, Donald & Christensen, Carleton & Petrie, Jim, 2009. "A problem-structuring method for complex societal decisions: Its philosophical and psychological dimensions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 193(3), pages 693-708, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:193:y:2009:i:3:p:693-708
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mingers, John, 2015. "Helping business schools engage with real problems: The contribution of critical realism and systems thinking," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 242(1), pages 316-331.
    2. Sinclair, Philip, 2011. ""Describing the elephant": A framework for supporting sustainable development processes," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 2990-2998, August.
    3. P. Leviäkangas & S. Michaelides, 2014. "Transport system management under extreme weather risks: views to project appraisal, asset value protection and risk-aware system management," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 72(1), pages 263-286, May.

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