Multicriteria decision making

Decisions are usually based on multiple criteria. You have to trade off between criteria. I’ve been involved many such decisions over the last 5 years.

Example 1: A conglomerate wanted to identify industries for growth. We shortlisted 19 industries, identified 12 criteria for the attractiveness of an industry, researched each one and plotted them on spidergraphs like below.

Spidergraph for Industry 1 Spidergraph for Industry 2

The intention was that, to identify the most favourable industries, you’d just pick the ones with the largest filled area.

Example 2: Another time, we had to decide among BPO vendors. Again, we picked a bunch of criteria and compared vendors against these criteria.

Spidergraph for BPO Vendor 1 Spidergraph for BPO Vendor 2

Example 3: Once, we had to identify stakeholders’ position on a project.

Change readiness profile for Dave Change readiness profile for Uli

Those who were big on the right of the graph were for, and those who were big on the left were against.


In all the above cases, the same process was used for decision making.

  1. List criteria exhaustively
  2. Evaluate options against each criteria
  3. Assign weights to criteria (equal weights implicitly assigned above)
  4. Compare options

Having applied this methodology it several times, I am convinced this process is fundamentally flawed. See how in this post: Errors in multicriteria decision making.

  1. Gregory L. Chester says:

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: RE: THE WORD “SPIDERGRAPH” The above word has a Registered Trademark # 2,688,910, dated Feb. 18, 2003, as received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Principal Registrant: Gregory L. Chester, President of GLC New Product Consultants, Previously located at 1349 Sharon Green Drive, Columbus, OH 43229-9013. Presently located at 1422 Pathfinder Road, Henderson, NV 89014-3011. This Trademark is for: Printed Material, namely, Printed Graphs and Charts for use in the comparison and analysis of alternative choices in Decision-Making Applications, in Class 16 (U.S. CLS. 2, 5, 22, 23,29,37,38, and 50). First Use: 1-17-1985; in Commerce 3-17-1986. SN 75-665,749, Filed 3-17-1999. Erica Glembocki, Examining Attorney QUESTION: Has your Company ever considered a Royalty Fee for your use of the above word or Ceasing the use thereof? Sincerely yours, Gregory L. Chester, President GLC New Product Consultants 1422 Pathfinder Road Henderson (Las Vegas), Nevada 89014-3011

  2. Sandeep says:

    I am curious to know what the flaw is. To me it seems a pretty well-set method to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of any case, very visually and clearly.