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

Decision Support

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

Keywords:

Composite Importance

DEMATEL

Interrelations

Multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA)

Structural modeling

WINGS

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-

q

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.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2013.02.007

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

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

A;

(

)

n

n

X

X

max

aij ;

aij :

i;j1;...;n

j1

i1

X B B2 B3

B

;

IB

P

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

P

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:

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

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.

537

Pn

v is given by

2

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

1

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.

538

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

action.

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.

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

advance.

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

enlarged.

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.

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).

539

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:

1

D;

s

matrix D, i.e.

n X

n

X

dij :

i1 j1

Remarks:

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

0

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

formula:

T C C2 C3

C

:

IC

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:

ri

n

X

t ij ;

j1

cj

n

X

t ij ;

i1

2. For each element in the system ri + ci and ri ci are

calculated.

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

alternative.

3.2.1. Example 1

Step 1:

1. The user selected three components that constitute the

system.

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

matrix:

3

4 1 4

6

7

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

2

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).

3

0:174 0:043 0:174

6

7

C1 4 0:130 0:087 0:087 5:

0:087 0:130 0:087

10

540

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

form:

2

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

6

7

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

11

Step 6: The comparison of the results of WINGS, DEMATEL and

Composite Importance calculations are presented in Table

1.

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

component.

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

w1

6 0

6

C2a 6

4 a11

w2

a12

0 07

7

7;

0 05

a21

a22

0 0

12

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

2

T2a

w1

1w

a21

1w1

w2

1w2

a12

1w2

a22

1w2

1

6

6 0

6

6 a11

6 1w

1

4

0 0

7

0 07

7

7:

0 07

5

13

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

nc

X

j1

aij

:

1 wj

14

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.

r

C1

C2

C3

r+c

rc

CI

0.594

0.462

0.456

5.000

5.000

5.000

0.591

0.390

0.531

4.919

4.351

5.730

1.185

0.851

0.986

9.919

9.351

10.730

0.003

0.072

0.075

0.081

0.649

0.730

4.216

3.892

3.851

541

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

equation:

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).

criteria

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

follows:

r cai

ai1

ai2

ai1 w21

1 w1 1 w2 1 w1 1 w2

15

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

D2b

4

60

6

6

44

1

0 0 0

2 0 07

7

7;

1 0 05

16

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

alternative.

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

1

ai1 1 w2 w12 ai2 1 w1 w21 ;

W

w1

6 0

6

6c

6 31

6

6 c41

6

C3 6

6 0

6 0

6

6

6 0

6

4 0

0

0

w2

0

0

c52

c62

0

0

0

0

0

w3

0

0

0

a13

a23

a33

0

0

0

w4

0

0

a14

a24

a34

0

0

0

0

w5

0

a15

a25

a35

0

0

0

0

0

w6

a16

a26

a36

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

07

7

07

7

7

07

7

07

7:

07

7

7

07

7

05

0

18

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

ti6;3

ai;3

;

1 w3

ti6;4

19

ai;4

ai;5

ai;6

; t i6;5

; t i6;6

;

1 w4

1 w5

1 w6

20

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

become

r cai

6

X

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

k3

21

17

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).

542

like follows (Keeney and Raiffa, 1993, chap. 3) (the same formula is

also used in AHP (Saaty, 2005)):

22

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

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:

23

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):

ai;1 w21 w12 w21 w1 w12 w2 w12

ai;2 w22 w12 w21 w1 w21 w2 w21

24

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

inuences.

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

3

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.

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

543

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

inuences.

Acknowledgements

The author thanks the three anonymous referees and the Editor

for their insightful and valuable comments.

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