Rank-based information in multi-attribute decision and efficiency analysis

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Additive multi-attribute value models are widely employed in decision and efficiency analysis. Difficulties in specifying preferences for these models have motivated the development of methods that admit incomplete preference information, identify non-dominated alternatives and provide recommendations with heuristic decision rules. These methods accommodate many types of preference statements. Yet, several studies suggest that decision makers prefer to provide rank-based information rather than numerical statements. First, this thesis defines the notion of incomplete ordinal information, which can capture statements about the relative importance of the attributes and about the achievement levels of alternatives. The thesis then develops an optimization model for identifying non-dominated alternatives when alternatives and preferences are characterized by incomplete ordinal information and possibly by other types of incomplete information. These forms of information can, for example, help stakeholders to arrive at a joint preference characterization. Second, the thesis shows that the recommendations of many decision rules depend on the selected normalization of value functions. Motivated partly by this, the thesis develops optimization models to determine all the rankings the alternatives attain with the model parameters that are consistent with the stated incomplete information. The resulting ranking intervals help, for example, analyze how sensitive the alternatives' rankings are to the model parameters. Third, the thesis introduces dominance relations and ranking intervals for the efficiency analysis of decision making units when efficiency is measured through ratios of multi-attribute output and input values, as in the original data envelopment analysis method. These relations and intervals, which can be computed with the optimization models developed in the thesis, make it possible to compare any two decision making units independent of what other units are included in the analysis and to analyze how sensitive the efficiency of a unit is to the output and input attribute weights.
Translated title of the contributionJärjestysperustainen informaatio monitavoitteisessa päätös- ja tehokkuusanalyysissa
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Salo, Ahti, Supervising Professor
  • Salo, Ahti, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4887-1
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4888-8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • decision analysis
  • additive value function
  • incomplete information
  • ordinal information
  • decision recommendations
  • efficiency analysis
  • data envelopment analysis


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