A key component of systems analysis is examining the perspectives and actions of multiple stakeholders. Constructing a hierarchy of each stakeholder’s objectives with respect to a decision situation can provide insights on areas of agreement and disagreement. Sometimes, one objectives hierarchy is suitable for a set of stakeholders, and differences in opinions across stakeholders can be characterized by differences in the multiple objectives’ weights. Examples include planning for protection against radioactive iodine releases in nuclear incidents and analysis for the merger of the Operations Research Society of America and the Institute of Management Sciences to become INFORMS. In other cases, an objectives hierarchy will be constructed for each stakeholder because their objectives are so different that construction of separate hierarchies better represents their divergent perspectives. Examples include a tuna fish supplier source selection decision (from the perspectives of the StarKist company, environmentalists, and the San Diego tuna fishing fleet), a prostate cancer treatment decision (of former Intel CEO Andy Grove, his family, his company, and his doctors), and the potential siting of a new Home Depot building supply store.
Having modeled stakeholders’ objectives, dynamic sensitivity analysis can be conducted using sliders in Excel on the objectives’ weights, to rapidly see how the preferred action may change with weight changes. It would also be possible to examine the perceived fairness across stakeholders of anticipated environmental changes or proposed societal policies. Just as groups may differ in objectives, they may also differ in their perception of risks. In particular, scientists and laypeople often judge the magnitude of risks very differently.