Analyse this! An analysis of an analysis: Part – 2

In the last post, I indicated that regardless of equality of information, two persons may decide very differently based on what decision strategies each adopts. While there are innumerable strategies, a few of them stand out for mention.

You may want to revisit the table of analysis, for it will help in understanding the outcomes of the strategies discussed below.

Weighted Additive Strategy: Imagine you are extremely capable decision maker (i.e. list all alternatives and attributes, assess each alternative against each attribute and place weights across a set of attributes). Imagine your “importance” for floor area is 15%, location 25%, price 35%, quality 10% and design 15% (if we total weights of all the attributes 15%+30%+30%+10%+15%=100%). Your choice will be essentially that alternative that is maximum of performance x weightage. E.g., for House 1, the value is (0.15*1+0.25*1+0.35*7+0.10*5+0.15*1 = 3.8). Likewise, for houses 2, 3, 4 and 5 they are 4.35, 3.00, 4.80, and 4.90. House 5 will be chosen since it scores the highest. I am reasonably certain, considering what you have read just now, you have suspicion about your capabilities in such decision making. Your other suspicion that most would not engage such an exercise to decide is valid too. But it is undeniable that such a strategy would be the best in maximising value.

Lexicographic Strategy: The alternative with the best performance in the most important attribute will be selected. Consider price was the most important. House 1 will be selected. Even though, House 1 performs rather poorly in all the other attributes, they could be overcome by a great performance in the key attribute.

Satisficing Strategy: Alternatives are considered sequentially in the order they appear in the mind. The consumer would also keep a cut-off for performance in any attribute. Consider a minimum cut-off is “2”. Since, houses 1 & 2 have at least one attribute with “1” as performance value, they will be eliminated. House 3 will be selected. Alternatives that score extremely well in most attributes but lower than even one attribute will simply be eliminated (consider the plight of House 5).

Elimination by Aspects: It combines aspects of Satisficing and Lexicographic. The options that do not meet the minimum cut-off in the most important attribute are eliminated. In our case, assume price was the most important and minimum cut off is “2”. House 2 & 5 are quickly eliminated. Houses 1,3 and 4 are still in consideration set. Now the next most important attribute is selected. If location were the next most important attribute, then House 1 is eliminated and houses 3 & 4 remain. If no other important attribute remain, then based on Lexicographic Strategy, the alternative that performs the best in the most important attribute will be selected: House 4.

As one can see the choices changed depending upon which decision making strategy a consumer used, regardless of equality of information available for decision making. The implications are extremely important for the way alternatives are presented in a store or a search engine.

In the next post we will see how preferences or choices may change depending upon how information is presented.

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