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Environmental decision analysis and Decision Support Systems PowerPoint Presentation
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Environmental decision analysis and Decision Support Systems

Environmental decision analysis and Decision Support Systems

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Environmental decision analysis and Decision Support Systems

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  1. Environmental decision making Environmental decision analysis and Decision Support Systems

  2. MAIN ISSUES TO DISCUSS • What is a decision making process? • Who are the involved people, how do they act? • Which are the criticalities and specificities of an environmental decision making process? • Why is an environmental decision making process a complex problem? • Which public participation may be required?

  3. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? Problem People Decision Providing answers Aiding not deciding Support Complexity Computer assisted Systems

  4. WHAT IS A DECISION PROBLEM? • Puzzles • Situations where it is clear what needs to be done and also in broad terms how it should be done. A puzzle solution can be found by applying known methods, e.g. a mathematical method • Problems • Situations in which it is clear what needs to be done but not obvious how to do it. The problem is well structured and or well defined, but considerable expertise may be needed to find an acceptable or optimal solution • Messes/Wicked problems/Ill structured problems • Unstructured situations where there is disagreement about what needs to be done and why. The mess should be structured and shaped before any solution, would such exist, can be found. (Mackenzie et al., 2006)

  5. RATIONALITY Substantive rationality Procedural rationality Rational choice Rational choosing (Simon, 1964, 1972 Mackenzie et al., 2006)

  6. RATIONALITY SUBSTANTIVE rationality of a decision is considered independently of the manner in which it is made; the rationality hypothesis refers to the results of the choice Substantive decision support refers to approaches that attempt to provide knowledge-based expertise to address particular decisions. This form of decision support is suited only to decisions in which the aims of the work are known and agreed (Simon, 1964, 1972 Faucheux and Frager, 1995 Mackenzie et al., 2006)

  7. RATIONALITY PROCEDURAL rationality of a decision is in terms of the manner in which it is made; the rationality hypothesis refers to the decision making process itself Procedural decision support should support people in addressing the why and what questions, rather than just helping them to think about how an objective should be achieved. (Simon, 1964, 1972 Faucheux and Frager, 1995 Mackenzie et al., 2006)

  8. BOUNDED RATIONALITY Human decision makers are intendedly rational but information processing limits to memory, perception and judgment bound their abilities to evaluate complex choices and to act completely consistently over time Simon, 1957

  9. BOUNDED RATIONALITY A decision maker facing a choice behaves on the basis of a local satisfaction criterion, in the sense that he will choose the first solution he subjectively considers as satisfactory without trying to attain an unrealistic (and useless) optimal solution

  10. INDIVIDUAL DECISION MAKING Since individuals have significant limitations in their abilities to process and store information, they adopt a number of “short cuts” leading to systematic “biases” in their decision making behavior • Individuals tend to evaluate only a very few alternatives and these are usually close to the status quo alternative • Human decision makers tend to overweight concrete data, rely on biased models of likelihood estimation, and exhibit considerable overconfidence in the results of their judgment and choice processes • Individuals also show a remarkable sensitivity to the framing of problems

  11. INDIVIDUAL DECISION MAKING Under bounded rationality, individuals, who have many problems of their own, will simply fail to register ill defined macro environmental problems as deserving their attention Individuals, groups and organizations adopt heuristics for all phases of problem identification and solving

  12. People are reluctant to accept problems which do not have immediate or obvious relationship to heir actions or payoffs. Appeals to civic pride or global individual actions may have little effect in motivating individuals Policy makers must set priorities and select for public discussion and participation those few problems which are environmentally important and for which individual participation is essential

  13. “REAL” DECISION MAKING • Decision makers NEVER have a very precise idea of their problem • Often their problem can be formulated as the search of “satisfying compromise” • Solving a problem is always constrained by the available resources and time Constructive approach for structuring and formulating the decision problem Maximization problem

  14. INDIVIDUAL DECISION MAKING Kleindorfer et al., 1993


  16. DECISION MAKING ISSUES • Decisions are always made within a context • Decision problems evolve and their structure changes • Decision making is a process involving multiple participants and requires conflict resolution. It also involves multiple information sources • Decision makers have different perspectives and use multiple interpretations in creating problem representations and solving problems • Decision makers do not conform to one choice paradigm (e.g. rationality, politics..) • Making decisions involves the determination of what will happen if a decision is selected, how it can be implemented, what may happen when it is implemented why this may happen, what happens next.. (???, ??)

  17. UNCERTAINTY, COMPLEXITY, IRREVERSIBILITY Most environmental problems, e.g. increase of greenhouse gases effects, reduction of ozone layer, loss of biodiversity, are in a context of uncertainty, irreversibility and complexity. In these cases, decision problems become complex since the option set can change for the effects of past decisions and through time as a consequence of multidimensional interactions between economy and environment. Moreover, decisions have both collective and individual components and concern processes that may be irreversible (e.g. exhaustible resources)

  18. UNCERTAINTY In the complex space, there are so many interacting causes and effects that predictions of system behaviors – often social-political behaviors – are affected by a wide range of uncertainty Decisions must be made without a clear or complete understanding of their potential consequences. French and Geldermann, 2005

  19. UNCERTAINTY • Uncertainties involved in a decision may be defined under many headings: • lack of knowledge • randomness • stochastic variation • imprecision • lack of clarity • …. French and Geldermann, 2005

  20. UNCERTAINTY • There can be two typology of uncertainty: • Risk, when probability distributions based are based on a reliable classification of possible events • Uncertainty, characteristic of events whose probability distribution does not exist or is not fully definable for lack of reliable classification criteria


  22. DECISION PROBLEMS UNDER UNCERTAINTY Limits of substantive rationality to address complexity and strong uncertainty Some natural systems are not complicated (by imperfection of incompleteness of human knowledge) but rather complex (by indeterminacy) When assuming that the probability of occurrence of each outcome can be specified and choice is made by maximization of preferences, uncertainty situations are reduced to risk situations Faucheux and Froger, 1995

  23. DECISION MAKING The decision making is the process of generating, evaluating and making choices of alternatives to solve a decision problem (Simon, 1960). There are three main phases: • INTELLIGENCE, which include problem identification and definition; • PLANNING, which include alternatives generation, model development and alternatives analysis • CHOICE, which include choice of the best alternative and its implementation

  24. DECISION MAKING Decision making is the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. Making a decision implies that there are alternative choices to be considered, and in such a case we want not only to identify as many of these alternatives as possible but to choose the one that best fits with our goals, objectives, desires, values, and so on. (Harris, 1980)

  25. DECISION MAKING (Shim et al., 2002)

  26. DECISION PROCESS 1. Define the problem 2. Determine the requirements 3. Establish goals 4. Identify alternatives 5. Define criteria 6. Select a decision making tools 7. Evaluate alternatives against criteria 8. Validate solutions against problem statement János Fülöp,



  29. DECISION SUPPORT METHODOLOGIES • MONADIC: pattern recognition with the use of simple or complex sets of procedure. It cannot deal with ambiguos inputs nor resolve conflicts. E.g. query, text retrieval, graphs… • STRUCTURAL: analysis of specific aspects of information input and decisions as to its further processing. It allows resolution of some ambiguities. E.g. formal models… • CONTEXTUAL: dealing with the ambiguities not resolved by the structural analysis. Inputs and their attributes are analyzed in a broader context outside their domain. E.g. cognitive maps, sensitivity analysis…. (De May, 1992)



  32. DECISION MAKING ISSUES • 1. Context definition • Decision support need to allow for the influence of the context (e.g. culture, routine) and must fit the organizational structure

  33. DECISION MAKING ISSUES • 2. Visualization and the human interface • Maps and graphic representations may help decision makers and stakeholders

  34. DECISION MAKING ISSUES • 3. Group decision making • Various people are involved in the process and their values are equally considered

  35. DECISION MAKING ISSUES • 4. Knowledge capture and representation • Expert but also local knowledge should be captured, learning the decision rules

  36. PEOPLE Decision maker(s): a person or group responsible for making the decision: they ‘own the problem’ (French and Geldermann, 2005) Stakeholder(s):“those with a legitimate stake in the outcome of the decision” (Bardos et al., 2001) Experts: provide economic, engineering, scientific, environmental and other professional advice used to model and assess the likelihood of the impacts (French and Geldermann, 2005)

  37. PARTICIPATION Increasing involvement A crucial aspect of a decision making process, and in general of sustainable management, is PARTICIPATION, particularly of relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. Public involvement in the decision process can be of different type: (OECD, 2004)

  38. PARTICIPATION To simplify, the public involvement/participation techniques and methods into two main groups: • passive information techniques or consultation methods, where stakeholders are only inactively informed about an issue; • active information techniques or deliberative methods, where stakeholders are called to express their preferences and values, which will have an influence on the final decision. The two main groups have therefore distinct purposes, so that, again, when choosing a methodology of involvement, the goal of this activity must be clear

  39. PARTICIPATION Potential positive effects of participatory approaches Source: OECD (2004)

  40. PARTICIPATION 1. Supports democratic decision-making. 2. Ensures that public values are considered. 3. Develops the understanding needed to make better decisions. 4. Improves the knowledge base for decision-making. 5. Can reduce the overall time and expense involved in decision-making. 6. May improve the credibility of agencies responsible for managing risks. 7. Should generate better accepted, more readily implemented risk management decisions. The Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, 1997

  41. PARTICIPATION Usually, the process of decision-making goes together with a learning process. Stakeholders make decisions based on information available; learn about their impacts and consequences and then make further decisions influenced also by the new knowledge and information they have gathered. Consequently, in a repeatable process they enhance their knowledge and understanding of the problem and also identify needs for new types of information (Salewicz and Nakayama, 2004)

  42. PARTICIPATION By implementing a fair and openly structured procedure of deliberation, it is assumed that small groups of citizens can render informed judgments about public goods not simply in terms of their own personal utility, but also in terms of widely held social values. This increases the social equity, through a fair treatment of competing social groups, which is also a basic need for sustainability issues (Wilson and Howarth, 2002). An important issue in public deliberation is that of ensuring that all significant stakeholders are enabled to make meaningful inputs.

  43. PARTICIPATION • Judgments tend to become fixed early in discussion and linked to firstly suggested values • Dramatic, easily recalled or imagined events tend to be judged as more likely than they actually are • Recent evidence can override general knowledge • Decision makers risk attitudes can be changed simply by representing risks in more positive terms

  44. RISK COMMUNICATION Risk communication is the process of informing people about site hazards, with three main purposes: 1. understand risk assessment and management 2. form scientifically valid perceptions of the likely hazards 3. participate in making decisions EPA, 1992

  45. RISK COMMUNICATION SEVEN CARDINAL RULES • Accept and involve the public as a legitimate partner • Plan carefully and evaluate your efforts • Listen to the public’s specific concerns • Be honest, frank and open • Coordinate and collaborate with other credible sources • Meet the needs of the media • Speak clearly and with compassion EPA, 1992

  46. DECISION PROCESS AND SUSTAINABILITY Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs Brundtland, 1987 ECONOMY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY

  47. DECISION PROCESS AND SUSTAINABILITY • Decision involved in sustainable development may include efforts to: • Maximize resource use and energy efficiency • Reduce environmental impacts • Avoid/improve social impacts • Promote the use of renewable and green technologies • Enforce democratic decision processes

  48. DECISION PROCESS AND SUSTAINABILITY • Sustainability can be considered not as theoretical or scientific concept, but as an operative process or a “political act” (Robinson, 2004), derived by a combination of expert judgments and communities values, and which requires specific and new methodology and tools • There will continue to be need for conceptual, theoretical and methodological development related to sustainability (but) there is an inevitably experimental and experiential nature to sustainability (Robinson, 2004) • There is a need for integration of social, economic and environmental approaches “that actively creates synergy, not just summation” (Robinson, 2004)

  49. APPLICATION TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT Environmental decisions almost invariably fall into the complex or chaotic domains, particularly as they involve many stakeholders and hence need to address many socio-political issues: yet much work on environmental decision making seems to assume a known and knowable context (French and Geldermann, 2005)

  50. APPLICATION TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT There is growing public interest in, and engagement with, the process of decision-making, an increasing expectation of access to the documents and judgments of technical experts that support decisions on risk, and increased public scrutiny of the risk work of companies, of professional advisors and of regulators The response required to decision-makers to make judgments transparent, explicit and open to challenge and to be clear about where opportunities exist (Pollard et al, 2004)