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Creating More and Better Alternatives for Decisions Using Objectives


  • Johannes Siebert

    () (Faculty of Law, Business and Economics, University of Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany)

  • Ralph L. Keeney

    () (Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708)


The quality of alternatives is crucial for making good decisions. This research, based on five empirical studies of important personally relevant decisions, examines the ability of decision makers to create alternatives for their important decisions and the effectiveness of different stimuli for improving this ability. For decisions for which the full set of potentially desirable alternatives is not readily apparent, our first study indicates that decision makers identify less than half of their alternatives and that the average quality of the overlooked alternatives is the same as those identified. Four other studies provide insight about how to use objectives to stimulate the alternative-creation process of decision makers and confirm with high significance that such use enhances both the number and quality of created alternatives. Using results of the studies, practical guidelines to create alternatives for important decisions are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Siebert & Ralph L. Keeney, 2015. "Creating More and Better Alternatives for Decisions Using Objectives," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 63(5), pages 1144-1158, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:oropre:v:63:y:2015:i:5:p:1144-1158

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