The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Interactive Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis in the Collaborative Management of Watercourses

Mika Marttunen

Doctoral dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the School of Science for public examination and debate in Auditorium E at the Aalto University School of Science (Espoo, Finland) on the 28th of October 2011 at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-60-4259-6)   [2091 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-60-4258-9)


This thesis develops new approaches based on multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to improve the quality of multi-stakeholder processes in large watercourse development projects. The main methodological result is the decision analysis interview (DAI) approach developed and applied in five watercourse management projects. The DAI approach refers to an MCDA process at the core of which are personal interviews with a multi-criteria model. The research questions are: 1) in which ways does MCDA support collaborative planning and joint problem solution, 2) what are the key challenges in multi-stakeholder MCDA processes, and 3) how does the DAI approach meet them? The results of these projects and more than 130 personal DAIs are described in the six appended articles. In the four regulation development projects studied, an agreement on the policy recommendations was achieved. MCDA greatly supported the collaborative planning processes. It provided a structured framework for the whole project and efficient tools to gather, analyse, and present research results as well as stakeholders' knowledge and preferences. MCDA helped to create planning processes that participants find efficient, interesting, and meaningful. There are three features that I found to be crucial in the use of MCDA in collaborative processes. First, MCDA has to be introduced to the planning process in the early phase, because processes that actively engage stakeholders and aim at enhanced learning take time. Second, MCDA tools should be used in intensive interaction between the facilitator and the participants. This improves the quality of the MCDA process and promotes gaining of the potential benefits of the MCDA approach. One major advantage of the interactive weight elicitation is that it reduces the risk of behavioural biases and human mistakes. Third, the decision analyst must understand well the method and its potential problematic elements as well as the decision situation at hand.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 6 publications:

  1. Mika Marttunen and Raimo P. Hämäläinen. 1995. Decision analysis interviews in environmental impact assessment. European Journal of Operational Research, volume 87, number 3, pages 551-563.
  2. Raimo P. Hämäläinen, Eero Kettunen, Harri Ehtamo, and Mika Marttunen. 2001. Evaluating a framework for multi-stakeholder decision support in water resources management. Group Decision and Negotiation, volume 10, number 4, pages 331-353.
  3. Jyri Mustajoki, Raimo P. Hämäläinen, and Mika Marttunen. 2004. Participatory multicriteria decision analysis with Web-HIPRE: a case of lake regulation policy. Environmental Modelling & Software, volume 19, number 6, pages 537-547. © 2003 Elsevier. By permission.
  4. Mika Marttunen and Raimo P. Hämäläinen. 2008. The decision analysis interview approach in the collaborative management of a large regulated water course. Environmental Management, volume 42, number 6, pages 1026-1042.
  5. Mika Marttunen and Merja Suomalainen. 2005. Participatory and multiobjective development of water course regulation—Creation of regulation alternatives from stakeholders' preferences. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, volume 13, number 1, pages 29-49.
  6. Raimo P. Hämäläinen, Jyri Mustajoki, and Mika Marttunen. 2010. Web-based decision support: Creating a culture of applying multi-criteria decision analysis and Web-supported participation in environmental decision making. In: David Ríos Insua and Simon French (editors). e-Democracy: A Group Decision and Negotiation Perspective. Springer. Advances in Group Decision and Negotiation, volume 5, chapter 12, pages 201-221. ISBN 978-90-481-9044-7.

Keywords: multi-criteria decision analysis, environmental decision making, public participation, stakeholders, watercourses, management, water course regulation

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Last update 2012-07-13