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European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

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European Journal of Operational Research

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ejor

Decision Support

Weighted Inuence Non-linear Gauge System (WINGS) An analysis method for

the systems of interrelated components q
Jerzy Michnik
University of Economics in Katowice, ul. 1 Maja 50, 40-287 Katowice, Poland

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 27 February 2012
Accepted 2 February 2013
Available online 13 February 2013
Composite Importance
Multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA)
Structural modeling

a b s t r a c t
The WINGS method has been derived from DEMATEL and can be widely used as a structural model for
analysis of intertwined factors and causal relations between them. Its novelty comes from an idea of
including in one mathematical mechanism both strength (importance) and inuence of the system components. In particular, WINGS can be applied as the MCDA method for evaluating alternatives when interrelations between criteria cannot be neglected. For the problem with independent criteria, WINGS
reproduces the additive aggregation of preferences, a classical method in MCDA.
2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
There are plenty of approaches and methods that emerge from
two various research elds: system (structural) analysis and modeling and operational research (OR). In many cases, they met together to develop methods for solving complex problems which
led to Soft OR. The problem structuring methods (PSMs) emerged
in response to some of the constraints and limitations experienced
by managers and researchers using the existing quantitative OR
methods (Ackermann, 2012). To the popular approaches in PSM
belong Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and multimethodology
(Mingers and White, 2010). When making the right decision is
one of the key problems, the support from systems thinking approach integrated with more formal modeling can be invaluable.
This paper presents an attempt to build a method that is general
enough to be helpful in the analysis of complex situations, while
also including the quantitative tool for more precise assessments.
Quite a long time ago, in the seventies, DEMATEL appeared as a
result of the project conducted in Geneva Research Center of the
Batelle Memorial Institute (Gabus and Fontela, 1973; Fontela and
Gabus, 1976). Originally, DEMATEL was aimed at the fragmented
and antagonistic phenomena of world societies and as a search
for integrated solutions. Its main idea was to build and analyze a
structural model. This model was to mirror the causal interrela-

Research partly supported by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education,
Research Grant No. NN111 438637.
Tel.: +48 322577470; fax: +48 322577471.
E-mail address: jerzy.michnik@ue.katowice.pl

0377-2217/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

tions between its elements. The tabular and graphical form of the
output was designed to illuminate the complex relationships in a
system. The universality and simplicity of DEMATEL allows it to
be applied in a wide range of various problems in social sciences.
In recent years, thanks to its universality, DEMATEL has been revived in Asia, especially in Japan and Taiwan. A growing number of
applications have been observed since the beginning of 21st century. While numerous articles utilizing DEMATEL and its various
variants to a wide range of problems were published during the
last 15 years, only a limited number are mentioned below.
DEMATEL has been found to be helpful in designing human
interface for supervisory control systems (Hori and Shimizu,
1999). The Composite Importance, a revised version of DEMATEL
has been used to nd the effective factors to resolve issues in order
to create safe, secure and reliable future society (Tamura and
Akazawa, 2005b). The similar problem (Tamura and Akazawa,
2005a) and modeling of uneasy factors over foods (Tamura et al.,
2006) has been analyzed with the stochastic versions of DEMATEL
and Composite Importance. Fuzzy variant of DEMATEL has been
proposed for developing the global managers competencies (Wu
and Lee, 2007). DEMATEL has served as a tool for identication
of building repair policy choice criteria roles (Dytczak and Ginda,
2009). It has also been used in an interesting and atypical situation
of identifying affective factors in visual arts, including government,
technology, arts sponsors and the social conditions (Jasbi and
Frmanfarmaee, 2010).
The numerous group of articles apply DEMATEL or its variants,
very often combining it with other methods, to solving problems in
multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA). There are a few

J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

examples from the last few years: combined ANP and DEMATEL
approach used for the best vendor selection (Yang and Tzeng,
2011); causal modeling of web-advertising effects using SEM modied by DEMATEL technique (Wei et al., 2010); fuzzy DEMATEL
with ANP for evaluation a rm environmental knowledge management in uncertainty (Tseng, 2011); fuzzy Delphi + DEMATEL + ANP
employed to construct a technology selection model regarding the
economic and industrial prospects (Shen et al., 2011).
This article introduces Weighted Inuence Non-linear Gauge
System (WINGS) a kind of structural model that extends the ability of DEMATEL and similarly can be used as an aid in an analysis of
various systems of interrelated components.
The acronym of WINGS reects its salient features. Weighted
means that the measures of internal strength (importance) of the
components modify (weigh) the intensity of inuence. Inuence
stresses the crucial role of interrelations between the components.
The mathematical processing of input data brings the non-linearity
into the model. Gauge System is self-explanatory.
WINGS, as a descendant of DEMATEL, inherits all merits of its
predecessor: it can handle complex problems of reacting factors,
and its mathematical operations are clear and simple. Yet, it also
has its own unique features. First of all, WINGS evaluates both
the strength of the acting factor and the intensity of its inuence,
while DEMATEL takes into consideration only the latter. In addition, a special form of WINGS can serve as the MCDA method for
evaluating alternatives when interrelations between criteria cannot be neglected. It has been shown that, when the criteria are
independent, WINGS reduces to the additive aggregation, commonly used in MCDA.
The remainder of the article is organized as following. Section
2 contains a short presentation of DEMATEL and Composite
Importance. The method WINGS is introduced in Section 3. This
is a main part of the article and comprises also a series of examples illustrating the main features of WINGS. A comparison between WINGS and the similar methods from structural
modeling and MCDA is presented at the end of Section 3. Summary and remarks on future directions of study are placed in
Section 4 (Conlusions).
2. DEMATEL and Composite Importance

2.1. Outline of DEMATEL


where the normalizing factor

aij ;
aij :



X B B2 B3   


where I is n  n unit matrix.

ri nj1 xij the sum of all elements of the i row of the total
inuence matrix X is interpreted as the total inuence exerted by
element i on all other elements in the system. Similarly, the sum
of all elements of the j column of total inuence matrix
cj ni1 xij is interpreted as the total inuence exerted by all other
elements on the element j.
Additionally, the two-dimensional chart, called an impact-relations map, is used to illustrate the causal relations in the system.
In this graph, each element is represented as a point with two
co-ordinates: ri + ci on the horizontal axis, ri  ci on the vertical
axis. The value of ri + ci combines interrelations of both directions
of the element i and therefore is interpreted as an overall inuence
strength of that element. ri  ci shows the difference between exerted and received inuence and is a basis for classication of elements. Those elements for which ri  ci is positive are considered
as causal components of the system, those for which ri  ci is negative are considered as affected.
2.2. Concept of Composite Importance
In the series of two articles Tamura and Akazawa notice that
. . . the original DEMATEL is not taking into account the importance of each factor itself. Hence, it is not possible to evaluate
the priority among the factors (Tamura and Akazawa, 2005b). Also
they argue: We need to take into account both the strength of
relationships among factors and the importance of each factor
(Tamura and Akazawa, 2005a). To overcome this problem they
propose to use the n-dimensional vector y whose components
measure the importance of each element itself. The vector y is normalized by division of each component of y by the largest one. The
normalized vector y is denoted as yr. Then, this normalized vector
is used to dene the Composite Importance z:

The ith element of the Composite Importance vector measures

how much the ith factor can improve overall structure, that can
be thought as a kind of priority ranking.
3. Weighted Inuence Non-linear Gauge System WINGS

We consider the system of n elements. The verbal scores for an

inuence assessment is translated into the non-negative integers
from 0 to 4, according to the following mapping: no inuence ? 0,
low inuence ? 1, medium inuence ? 2, high inuence ? 3,
very high inuence ? 4. The value representing the inuence of
element i on element j is denoted as dij and becomes the element
of the initial direct-relation matrix A = [aij], i, j = 1, . . . , n. By assumption, the principal diagonal elements are all equal zero (aii = 0,
i = 1, . . . , n).
The normalized matrix B is

If 9k j1 akj < 1, the power series of normalized matrix converges to zero matrix and the total-inuence matrix X is well
dened.1 It comprises the direct inuence between elements (B)
and all indirect inuences (B2, B3, . . .) as follows:

z yr Xyr I Xyr :

This section shortly presents the essence of the DEMATEL method. It is followed by the description of the Composite Importance, a
concept that sprang up from DEMATEL.



v is given by

When one considers the interactions between two elements,

the common sense suggests that the effect that interaction depends not only on the intensity of affecting but also on the
strength of factor that acts. This general observation is supported
by many specic cases.
In classical physics there are two analogical laws: law of universal gravitation and Coulombs law. In both magnitude of the force
on each of two elements (masses or electric charges) depends on
their masses (charges) and the distance between them. We can
think about distance as a measure of the intensity of inuence
and about mass as a measure of the strength of element. Similarly, in the elastic collision, an effect of the collision depends on
both mass and velocity of the colliding bodies.
When we translocate to the eld of social sciences we can also
nd the analogical examples. In management one has to analyze
It may happen that all sums of rows and columns are equal and the total-inuence
matrix will not exist. However it is very unlikely in practice.


J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

the interrelations between many intertwined elements. Lets assume that we are going to modernize the production line and,
among others, we consider two important criteria: uncertainty
of project results and technological competencies. They are not
independent the latter has some inuence on the former. The
inuence of technological competencies on uncertainty of project
results should combine the importance of criterion technological
competencies in the studied system and how strong it acts on
uncertainty of project results. The other example refers to introducing a new product. It is obvious that a nancial risk is inuenced by the competitors reaction. But an aggregated effect of
weak reaction of big (strong, important, more inuential) competitor can be more important than strong reaction of less inuential
one. One more example comes from market behavior. Lets consider a particular change of a price of some product which is purchased by two different groups of customers. One group is
numerous (strong, important), the other comparably small (weak).
If members of both groups react to the price change similarly, the
change in a total demand of the numerous group will be much bigger than that of the weaker one. In general, we can say that the nal effect of the interactions in the system depends on a
combination of strength of an acting factor and intensity of an
Tamura and Akazawa (2005a,b) introduced in their model the
importance of the element itself, but they neglected the role of that
importance in the interactions between elements. Similarly to original DEMATEL, they separately calculate the total inuence matrix
and then use it to modify the initial importance vector.
Above considerations lead to the idea that both strength (internal power or importance of the factor) and inuence (intensity of
affecting) are intertwined together and need to cooperate in the
model to adequately reect the interactions of elements in a compound system. The procedure WINGS introduced in this article
was designed to fulll this requirement.
The basic assumptions of WINGS grow from the philosophy of
structural modeling in social sciences and are settled on the paradigm that the system behavior and its important features can be
studied with the model of interrelations between systems components. We assume that:
 Two basic features of the system components are responsible
for the interrelations: internal strength and inuence.
 The objective mechanism of interactions should include
direct and also all possible indirect relations between components which is a result of the transitivity of interactions.
 The more complex interactions, involving more than two
components, can be characterized with enough approximation by two-component interactions.
 However the objective measurement is not possible, the
experienced specialist can make rational assessments (also
expressed in numbers) of the strength (importance) of the
components and inuences between them.

volved in a process (for convenience we will use from now the

term user for any kind of subject or the group of subjects interested in application of the method: a decision maker, a researcher,
an analyst, an expert, etc.). Then, for each component, its strength
and interrelations in a system are assessed.
The strength (importance), introduced by WINGS, can be also
called the initial or internal strength, as it enters the model as
the input value assessed by the user. The strength of the components may be of various nature. Especially, some components
may have no strength or negligible strength which is modeled by
the numerical value of zero. However (similarly to DEMATEL) the
component with no internal strength acquires the non-zero value
in a system via process of interactions with other components.
The WINGS procedure is divided into seven steps as follows:
Step 1:
1. The user selects the n P 2 components that constitute
the system. The directed graph representing the system
can be very helpful during the beginning phase of the
WINGS procedure. In the graph: (1) Nodes represent
the components of the system. (2) Arrow from inuencing node to inuenced node represents the non-zero
inuence. An example of the directed graph for the system of ve components is presented in Fig. 1A.
2. Verbal scale of strength. The user evaluates the strength of
all system components using the following 5-point verbal scale: low strength, medium strength, high
strength, very high strength. No strength is used in
the following cases: (1) The user feels that the internal
strength of the component is negligible; (2) The user is
not able to assign any other verbal term to the component; and (3) Some components of the system, by their
very nature, should not be assigned the strength in
3. Verbal scale of inuence. The user evaluates the levels of
inuence between all system components using the following 5-point verbal scale: no inuence, low inuence, medium inuence, high inuence, very high
inuence. If the user feels that the 5-point scale is too
narrow to handle his evaluations, the scale can be easily
Step 2: The user assigns the numerical values to the verbal evaluations. The values and their relations depend on the user
assessment, however to keep balance between strength
and inuence, we suggest to use the same mapping for
both measures.
The two generic aspects of the method determine the
character of numerical scales:
1. The natural zero appears as an equivalent of both verbal
assessments: no strength and no inuence.

Concerning the second assumption, transitivity seems obvious.

Also the indirect inuence should weaken with the number of
intermediary components. It means that we need the mechanism
that will be able to express the total evaluation of the innite series
of indirect inuences. Such a mechanism has been proposed in
DEMATEL and makes the foundation of WINGS, too.
3.1. Procedure of WINGS
We assume that the problem can be solved by the analysis of a
model consisting of nite number, n P 2, components (they also
may be called factors or simply elements). They are selected by
thorough analysis and/or during a discussion if a group user is in-

Fig. 1. (A) An initial directed graph of the system with ve components and arrows
representing the non-zero inuences. (B) The same system with numerical
assignments for strengths and inuences (the internal strength of component C4
is zero).


J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

2. The nal evaluation of the components depends on sums

of products of initial evaluations.
The above conditions imply that if the method is to be meaningful, the scales for strength and inuence should be the ratio scales
(see e.g. Roberts, 1985; Bouyssou et al., 2006, chap. 3). It can be
also convenient to choose the lowest non-zero level as the unit level (as it is chosen in examples below).
Example 1: The low level is represented by 1. Then user determines medium level as two times higher than low, the level
high as three times higher than low, and level very high as four
times higher than low. This gives the assignment similar to DEMATEL: no = 0, low = 1, medium = 2, high = 3, very high = 4.
Example 2: 1 for level low, medium = 2  low, high = 3  low,
very high = 2  high. This gives the following assignment:
no = 0, low = 1, medium = 2, high = 3, very high = 6.
Fig. 1B shows an example of the numerical assignments added
to the graph of the system from Fig. 1A.
Step 3: The numbers assessed in Step 2 are inserted into the direct
strengthinuence matrix D. This is n  n matrix with elements dij.
Values representing strength of components are inserted
into principal diagonal, i.e. dii = strength of component i.
Values representing inuences are inserted in such a
way that for i j, dij = inuence of component i on component j.
Step 4: Matrix D is calibrated according to the following formula:


where calibrating factor is dened as a sum af all elements of

matrix D, i.e.

n X
dij :

i1 j1

1. This way of a calibration ensures the existence of the total
strengthinuence matrix T dened in Eq. (7) if there are at
least two positive elements in matrix D and both are not in
the same row. An opposite situation may be excluded from
the analysis, as it actually does not represent any system.
2. This calibration, alike that used in DEMATEL, ensures that
the results are invariant under the positive homothetic
transformation dij ! dij adij ; a > 0, for i, j = 1, . . . , n. This
is in an agreement with the remark about meaningfulness
made in Step 2.
Step 5: Calculate the total strengthinuence matrix T from the

T C C2 C3   


Remark: The series in above equation converge, and consequently

the total strengthinuence matrix T exists, if at least one row
sum of matrix C elements is less than 1. This is ensured by the calibration dened in Step 3.2
Step 6:
1. For each element in the system the row sum ri and column
sum cj of the matrix T are calculated:


t ij ;


t ij ;


where tij are the elements of matrix T.

2. For each element in the system ri + ci and ri  ci are
Step 7: The ri and ci represent the total impact and the total receptivity of component. ri + ci shows the total engagement of
the component in the system; the sign of ri  ci indicates
the role (position) of the component in the system: positive means the component belongs to the inuencing
(cause) group, negative means that the component belongs
to the inuenced (result) group. Following the DEMATEL,
we propose to draw the auxiliary chart (r  c vs. r + c)
which can be called engagement-position map, which
together with the numerical output will facilitate the nal
analysis and discussion.
3.2. Examples
In the rst example the small system consisted of three elements is considered. It follows the WINGS procedure step by step
and shows the mechanism of the method. Similar calculations for
the original DEMATEL and Composite Importance have been done
to reveal the differences between the three methods.
In Examples 2a and 2b we test how WINGS works with the
MCDA problem. When applied to problem with the independence
principle, WINGS reduces to the weighted sum aggregation method (Example 2a). Then, in Example 2b we show how WINGS deals
with the case with dependencies. Example 3 shows that, when
applied to hierarchical MCDA problem, WINGS and the weighted
sum method lead to the different formulas for nal score of
3.2.1. Example 1
Step 1:
1. The user selected three components that constitute the
2. Verbal scale of strength. The user evaluated the strength of
all system components: Component C1 very high
strength, Component C2 medium strength, Component
C3 medium strength.
3. Verbal scale of inuence. The user evaluated the levels of
inuence between the system components as follows:
C1 on C2 low, C1 on C3 very high, C2 on C1 high, C2
on C3 medium, C3 on C1 medium, C3 on C2 high.
Step 2: The user preceives that the following scale is appropriate:
no = 0, low = 1, medium = 2, high = 3, very high = 4.
The assignments translated into numbers are presented
in Fig. 2.
Step 3: These numbers are inserted into direct strengthinuence

4 1 4
D1 4 3 2 2 5;
2 3 2

where the input data for three components: C1, C2, and C3
are placed consecutively into matrix rows.
Step 4: Calibrated matrix for this example is given by

The calibrated matrix, with at least one row sum of its elements less than 1, is like
the sub-matrix of transient states of the matrix representing absorbing Markov chain
(Grinstead and Snell, 2006, chap. 11).

0:174 0:043 0:174
C1 4 0:130 0:087 0:087 5:
0:087 0:130 0:087



J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

The verbal values for importance for both criteria, after translation into numbers, are inserted into strengthinuence matrix (d11
and d22). Then, the user estimates verbally the inuence of each
alternative on each criterion. Equivalently, it means answering to
the question: how far given alternative fullls the objective represented by given criterion? Again, the numerical estimates are inserted into strengthinuence matrix (d31 and d32 for rst
alternative, d41 and d42 for the second).
After calibration (Step 4) the matrix C will have the following

Fig. 2. The graph of the system discussed in Example 1.

Step 5: The total importanceinuence matrix T is as follows:

0:252 0:095 0:247

T1 4 0:193 0:125 0:144 5:


0:147 0:170 0:139

Step 6: The comparison of the results of WINGS, DEMATEL and
Composite Importance calculations are presented in Table
Step 7: When we compare the columns r + c and z (Composite
Importance), we can see that:
 WINGS results in the following ranking of the total
impact: C1, C3, C2.
 DEMATEL underestimates the role of the component C1,
because it does not take into account its strength which
is very high (d11 = 4). The ranking is: C3, C1, C2.
 Composite Importance method includes importance in
its calculations and therefore it places C1 at the same
rst place as WINGS (the ranking is: C1, C2, C3). However it underestimates C3, because it does not take into
account the very strong inuence of very strong component C1 on C3 (d13 = 4).
 Both, WINGS and DEMATEL recognize the C1 and C2 as
the cause components, while C3 as the inuenced
3.2.2. Example 2a multiple criteria decision problem with
independent criteria
A model with such a problem should comprise of two components of different characters: criteria and alternatives. In the case
of criteria, the internal strength is a measure of relative importance. In contrast to the criteria, the alternatives have no internal
strength (importance). Their position in the system is acquired
by the evaluation of their inuence on the criteria. This inuence
is interpreted as the ability to fulll the objectives represented
by the criteria. Finally, the total engagement (which, in this case,
is equal to the total impact) denes the ranking (weak order) of
the alternatives.
To show how WINGS deals with the multiple criteria decision
problem, we have chosen the minimal possible model that consists
of only two criteria (C1 and C2) and two decision alternatives (A1
and A2). Its graph is shown in Fig. 3A. In direct strengthinuence
matrix the criteria take placed of the rst two components while
alternatives take place of the next two components.

0 0


6 0
C2a 6
4 a11


0 07
0 05



0 0


where w1 and w2 represent the relative importance of rst and second criterion, respectively. a11 and a12 (a21 and a22) represent the
inuence of the rst (second) alternative on rst and second criterion, respectively. This notation facilitate the distinction between
criteria and alternatives. As a result of calibration, all non-zero elements of matrix C2a are less than 1 (in particular w1 + w2 6 1).
For this example the total importanceinuence matrix is





6 0
6 a11
6 1w

0 0

0 07
0 07


0 0

The total engagements for the rst and second alternatives are
r cai rai ai1 =1  w1 ai2 =1  w2 , where i = 1,2. It is seen
that for the decision problem with independent criteria, the total
engagement will be always equal to the total impact. This effect
is caused by the special structure of the initial (and calibrated) matrix (the column of zeros for each alternative).
The above result can be easily generalized to the arbitrary numbers of criteria and alternatives. With nc the number of criteria,
WINGS will lead to the following formula for the total engagement
of ith alternative:

r cai


1  wj


The above result shows that in the case of independent criteria

WINGS reduces to the weighted sum aggregation method. It is not
essential that the initial criteria importances have been changed
into w0j 1=1  wj by the increasing transformation. It is always
possible to change the procedure and choose the proper strategy
for setting the weights w0j directly (see discussion in Bouyssou
et al., 2006, chap. 5) and then adjust the scale for inuence. In practice, it is no sense to use WINGS, but sooner the weighted sum
aggregation method. This example has rather theoretical then
practical meaning. It supports the statement that in the case of
MCDA problem, WINGS can be the considered as the extension of
weighted sum method, because, when the dependencies are neglected, it reduces to that method.

Table 1
Example 1 comparison of the results of WINGS, DEMATEL and Composite Importance.














W WINGS, D DEMATEL, CI Composite Importance.


J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

criteria (C1 into C3 and C4, C2 into C5 and C6). Three alternatives
make the bottom level.
After the calibration, initial strengths of criteria and subcriteria
become the weights (w1  w6). Then, the user assesses all (nonzero) inuences represented by arrows in Fig. 4. After the calibration they also appear in matrix C3, as it is shown in the following
Fig. 3. (A) The graph of the multiple criteria decision problem discussed in Example
2a (independent criteria). (B) The graph of the same problem as in (A) but with
dependent criteria (Example 2b).

3.2.3. Example 2b multiple criteria decision problem with dependent

Lets now slightly modify the above problem by introducing
some inuence between criteria, namely: second criterion inuence the rst one, so we introduce w21 > 0 in the position: second
row, rst column. Now, the evaluations for the alternatives are as

r cai

ai1 w21

1  w1 1  w2 1  w1 1  w2


for i = 1, 2.
Eq. (15) differs from Eq. (14) by the third term that represents
the indirect inuence of alternative i on the rst criterion through
the second criterion.
We continue this example with a numerical illustration. Lets
assume that the 04 scale is used. The importance of rst criterion
is very high (w1 = 4) and that of the second medium (w2 = 2). The
values of inuence on criteria for the rst alternative are: a11 = 4,
a12 = 1; for the second: a21 = 1, a22 = 4. At the moment, there are
not interdependencies between criteria. With this data the initial
strengthinuence matrix has the form



0 0 0
2 0 07
1 0 05


4 0 0

The numerical values of total engagement for alternatives, calculated from nal matrix, are: r ca1 0:405; r ca2 0:369.
It means that rst alternative is evaluated as better then the
second. Now if the second criterion inuences the rst, it can be
easily calculated, that for medium inuence (d21 = 2) both
alternatives will be evaluated equally r a1 ra2 0:357. For high
inuence (d21 = 3) the second alternative will prevail the rst
ra1 0:337; ra2 0:349. This result is in agreement with the
intuitive reasoning. Without interrelations between criteria, the
second alternative having better score for second less important
criterion, has placed as worse. But the inuence exerted by the
second criterion on the rst raises the evaluation of the second
At the end, lets add the inuence of rst criterion on the second
with d12 > 0. Obviously the formulas for tij become more complicated. The total engagement of alternative is given by

r cai

ai1 1  w2 w12 ai2 1  w1 w21 ;

6 0
6 31
6 c41
C3 6
6 0
6 0
6 0
4 0










In the above matrix, similarly to Example 2a, the specic notation is used to help the distinction between criteria and alternatives and make the nal result more readable (see Fig. 4). cij
stands for the inuence of subcriterion i on its parent criterion
j; aij stands for the inuence of alternative i on subcriterion j.
The non-zero elements of the matrix T, relating to alternatives,
appear in rows 79 and are given by the following formulas:

ai;3 c31
ai;4 c41

1  w1 1  w3 1  w1 1  w4
ai;5 c52
ai;6 c62

1  w2 1  w5 1  w2 1  w6

t i6;1
t i6;2


1  w3



; t i6;5
; t i6;6
1  w4
1  w5
1  w6

where i = 1, 2, 3.
To assess the value of each alternative Ai, we calculate its index
r cai rai (similarly to the Example 2a, 2b, cai 0 for each alternative). It is a sum of all elements in i + 6 row of matrix T, from
which the only non-zero elements are shown on the right hand
sides of Eqs. (19) and (20). The values from Eq. (20) represent the
direct impact of alternative Ai on sub-criteria C3C6. In Eq. (19)
there are the indirect impacts of alternative Ai on criteria C1 and
C2. In both cases this indirect impact consists of two components
that represent the indirect impact via two subcriteria.
To compare the above result with other methods, we will replace all 1/(1  wj) by w0j . The total engagement of i alternative will

r cai

w0k ai;k w01 w03 ai;3 c31 w01 w04 ai;4 c41

w02 w05 ai;5 c52 w02 w06 ai;6 c62 :



where W = (1  w1)(1  w2)  w12w21, i = 1, 2. It is clear that all of

the elements cooperate to give the nal result, particularly the relations between criteria that also modify the denominator. Numerically, the two combinations of inuences: w12 = 1, w21 = 3 and
w12 = 2, w21 = 4 lead to the equal positions of both alternatives.
3.2.4. Example 3 multiple criteria decision problem with a hierarchy
of criteria
We consider the hierarchy presented in Fig. 4. It embodies two
criteria C1 and C2 at the top level. Each of them is split into two sub-

Fig. 4. Graph for the multiple criteria problem with hierarchical structure (for
clarity only a part of inuence factors is shown).


J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

The weighted sum approach for analyzed hierarchy would look

like follows (Keeney and Raiffa, 1993, chap. 3) (the same formula is
also used in AHP (Saaty, 2005)):

v ai w1 w3 ai;3 w4 ai;4 w2 w5 ai;5 w6 ai;6 ;


where we assumed that w1 and w2 represent the conditional

weights in regards to the main objective, w3w6 represent the conditional weights in regards to criteria from higher level.
The right hand side of Eq. (21) is a direct consequence of
WINGS structural approach. In particular:
 WINGS adds the terms of the form w0k ai;k representing
direct inuence of alternatives on subcriteria.
 In the terms that are similar to weighted sum approach, the
additional multiplier appears. It represents the direct inuence of subcriterion on criterion.
Although the ratios of w0 in Eq. (21) can be assessed similarly to
the weighted sum method, interpretation is slightly different and
they are also normalized (calibrated) differently. So, the signicance of the difference between Eqs. (21) and (22) cannot be
judged without more theoretical and experimental research.
3.3. Comparison of WINGS with the other models of interactions
between components of the system
3.3.1. Structural modeling
There are plenty of various approaches and models in problem
structuring methods. WINGS shares some basic concepts and technical aspects with a number of them. Here we limit ourselves to
comparison with small representative set of those methods that
seem to be closer to WINGS than the others.
Cognitive mapping
Cognitive mapping is often referred to as a problem structuring
method. In fact, the name of cognitive map covers a rich family of
various methods. The only thing that they share is the general
statement: a cognitive map is a collection of nodes linked by some
arcs (Marchant, 1999). It seems that WINGS (and obviously DEMATEL) is mostly related to the cognitive map with quantitative
assessment of strength developed by Roberts (1976). However,
that version (like all types of cognitive maps) can work only with
the network that is an acyclic graph, while DEMATEL and WINGS
allow graphs with cycles.
The authors of the Reasoning Map method tried to build a
bridge between structural modeling and decision making (Montibeller et al., 2008; Montibeller and Belton, 2009). This method employs qualitative assessment of preferences within ordinal scale,
utilizes aggregation operators for qualitative data and provides
also qualitative outputs. It allows positive and as well as negative
inuence, but it is also limited to acyclic graphs. In the Reasoning
Map, the decision alternatives stay outside of the map and the bottom level is made by the attributes. The performance of a decision
alternative is evaluated in terms of its qualitative performance on
each attribute.
Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) (a clear presentation of
ISM is given by Janes (1988), while the mathematical aspects are
studied by Wareld (1974)).
In ISM the elements of a system (named structure) and their
interrelations are also presented in the digraph. The nodes represent the elements of the issue or problem being studied, while
the arcs denote a specic relation between the elements. This
method allows only two answers (yes or no) to the question
about interrelation between components. These answers are represented by 1 or 0 respectively and, in turn, are inserted into binary
matrix. Finally, with Boolean operations, the reachibility matrix is
derived. WINGS and ISM have two aspects in common. One is

the transitivity of relations, the second is the information that

can be derived from the nal matrix. In ISM the sum of 1 in row
and in column can be interpreted as the driving power and the
dependence power, respectively. They are the parallels of total
impact and total receptivity in WINGS.
3.3.2. Multiple criteria decision analysis
In the eld of MCDA, WINGS shares with some other methods
its objective to consider interrelations between the criteria. There
are not many such methods of aggregation. To the most popular
methods belong Choquet integral and the ANP.
Choquet integral
The Choquet integral is a generalization of the Lebesgue integral, dened with respect to a non-classical measure, often called
fuzzy measure. It is able to represent the interrelations between
criteria, including redundancy (negative interaction) and synergy
(positive interaction) (Grabisch, 1996). In the case of nite set of
criteria, Choquet integral represents the aggregated score of an
alternative. It is a sum in which, besides the weights of individual
criteria, the weights of all coalitions of criteria contribute to the
aggregated evaluation. When there are no interactions, Choquet
integral reduces to the weighted sum aggregation. For two criteria,3 Choquet integral for the alternative Ai can be written as follows:

CIai ai;1 lC 1 ; C 2  lC 2  ai;2 lC 2 ;


where l() 2 [0, 1] is the fuzzy measure and represents the weight of
a given subset of the set of criteria; the indices of criteria have to be
permuted so that ai,1 6 ai,2.
To compare formulas of WINGS and Choquet integral, lets take
the rst three terms in the expansion for matrix T from Eq. (7):

r cai ai;1 ai;2 ai;1 w1 w12 ai;2 w2 w21

ai;1 w21 w12 w21 w1 w12 w2 w12

ai;2 w22 w12 w21 w1 w21 w2 w21   


It is clearly seen, that owing to the different approach to the

problem, WINGS and Choquet integral use different input data
for evaluation of interrelations between criteria and differently
process them in further steps. So, the direct comparison is at least
very difcult, if not impossible.
The fuzzy measure is able to enlarge the score in the case of synergy between criteria and decrease the score for redundant criteria.
In WINGS, so far, there is no negative inuence. Redundancy can be
modeled only by input of weak (or zero) direct inuence between
redundant criteria that results in weakening their relative position.
When the number of criteria is greater than three, the evaluation of fuzzy measure becomes a difcult task, since the user has
to consider the importance for sets containing 3 or more criteria.
The number of parameters that have to be assessed grows exponentially and lead also to computational problems (Grabisch and
Roubens, 2000)). In WINGS the number of parameters grows linearly since the user needs to assess only the direct inuences between each pair of criteria. The interrelations between 3 or more
criteria appear in the higher order terms as the products of direct
ANP (the detailed description of the ANP procedure is presented
in Saaty (2005)).
Both methods use two kinds of input data: importances and
inuences, but they combine them differently.
In the ANP, the relative importance of inuence is a central concept (this and the pairwise comparisons are taken over from the
AHP). The input information comes out from answers to two kinds
The example with three criteria is much more illustrative, but this one coincides
with two criteria example of WINGS and is sufcient for a comparison.

J. Michnik / European Journal of Operational Research 228 (2013) 536544

of questions (Saaty, 2005, chap. 2): (1) Which of the two elements
is more dominant with respect to a criterion? (2) Which of the two
elements inuences the third element more with respect to a criterion? In WINGS, all the initial assessments can be assumed to
be made in respect to a whole system.
In the ANP, importance is represented by the weight of the cluster and serves to normalize the initial supermatrix into the stochastic supermatrix. When there is no inuence between
clusters, the corresponding weight is zero. That may be not clear
to the user. In contrast, WINGS assigns importance directly to each
component, independently of its connections.
Both methods apply the limiting process to their normalized
(calibrated) matrix. However, in the case of the ANP, an analysis
is much more complicated since the nal result depends on reducibility, primitivity and cyclicity of the stochastic matrix and, in
many cases, some additional manipulations are needed (Saaty,
2005, chap. 2).

4. Conclusions
The method WINGS (Weighted Inuence Non-linear Gauge System) has been designed as a quantitative tool to analyze and solve
the problems of compound systems with the interrelated components. It can serve as an aid in exploring various issues in the eld
of social sciences. The numerical outcome of WINGS helps to elucidate the causal relationships between components and to rank
their importance/position in the system.
In WINGS, two basic features of system components strength
and inuence make the foundations for system analysis. The components can be homogeneous or can have different nature and can
play a different role in a system. To reveal the overall strength and
position of the component, WINGS
 combines both the internal importance of the component
and its external inuence on the other components,
 derives the indirect inuences (higher order terms) from
two-component interactions,
 sums up the direct inuence and indirect inuences of all
orders to obtain the total relations between components.
Information required for WINGS operations is qualitatively and
quantitatively nondemanding and can be easily elicited from the
user. The method also gives high exibility to the user allowing
the choice of verbal scale and its numerical representation. WINGS
does not need any specialized software as it employs only elementary matrix algebra. Thanks to the above features, WINGS can become a valuable alternative to other methods in the structural
modeling and MCDA.
Though WINGS borrows a lot from DEMATEL, it brings one new
important feature. In contrast to DEMATEL which counts only the
inuences of components, WINGS joins together internal strength
(importance of the component) and its inuence (intensity of
affecting). Due to this aspect, WINGS can be considered as a complete method that can be used alone or can be a part of more complex models.
The special form of WINGS can be applied in the eld of MCDA
as a model of problems with interrelation between criteria. When
there are no inuences between criteria, WINGS reduces to
weighted sum aggregation. WINGS is able to deal also with hierarchical problems, however its nal formula for ranking of alternatives differs from that of weighted sum and AHP.
Several theoretical and practical questions arise and these suggest areas for further research. First of all, as this work is formulated more in terms of procedure to follow and illustrative
examples, it should be followed by more precise analysis of formal


features and axioms.4 Then, the operational performance should be

examined in several practical applications including comparison
with other competitive methods. An area, that merits more research,
comprises the possible extensions of WINGS: i.e., problem of uncertain data, clustering of components, possibility to include negative
The author thanks the three anonymous referees and the Editor
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