This thesis develops new approaches based on multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to improve the quality of multi-stakeholder processes in large watercourse development projects. The main methodological result is the decision analysis interview (DAI) approach developed and applied in five watercourse management projects. The DAI approach refers to an MCDA process at the core of which are personal interviews with a multi-criteria model. The research questions are: 1) in which ways does MCDA support collaborative planning and joint problem solution, 2) what are the key challenges in multi-stakeholder MCDA processes, and 3) how does the DAI approach meet them? The results of these projects and more than 130 personal DAIs are described in the six appended articles. In the four regulation development projects studied, an agreement on the policy recommendations was achieved. MCDA greatly supported the collaborative planning processes. It provided a structured framework for the whole project and efficient tools to gather, analyse, and present research results as well as stakeholders' knowledge and preferences. MCDA helped to create planning processes that participants find efficient, interesting, and meaningful. There are three features that I found to be crucial in the use of MCDA in collaborative processes. First, MCDA has to be introduced to the planning process in the early phase, because processes that actively engage stakeholders and aim at enhanced learning take time. Second, MCDA tools should be used in intensive interaction between the facilitator and the participants. This improves the quality of the MCDA process and promotes gaining of the potential benefits of the MCDA approach. One major advantage of the interactive weight elicitation is that it reduces the risk of behavioural biases and human mistakes. Third, the decision analyst must understand well the method and its potential problematic elements as well as the decision situation at hand.
|Translated title of the contribution||Interactive multi-criteria decision analysis in the collaborative management of watercourses|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|
- multi-criteria decision analysis
- environmental decision making
- public participation
- water course regulation