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Framework for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement in Tradeoff Studies Using Group Decision Making Techniques: Application to Spaceflight Policy Open Access

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Abstract of Dissertation Framework for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement in Tradeoff Studies Using Group Decision Making Techniques:Application to Spaceflight Today’s complex systems, and systems of systems, must accommodate the needs of large numbers of heterogeneous stakeholders, and require a diverse range of decision making throughout the systems engineering life cycle beginning as early as the policy making stage. The trade study is the decision management method most commonly used in systems engineering. Trade studies are used at all stages of the systems engineering life cycle to aid in refining systems under development as information becomes available during successive life cycle stages. Because interaction between stakeholders and decision makers is a primary source of failure in studies supporting decision makers, focus is warranted on the problem of factoring stakeholder preferences into the trade study process. This research was initiated to fill the need for a standardized process to combine the preferences of multiple stakeholders in decision making for complex problems such as policy and systems of systems. This dissertation describes a trade study framework, with a focus on stakeholders, for use throughout the life cycle of complex systems, with examples of its application to the domain of human spaceflight policy. This framework directly accounts for multiple heterogeneous stakeholders and their preference structures, standardizing the process of multi-stakeholder engagement for group decision making and defining the artifacts generated thereby. Group Decision Making methodologies are mapped to classes of stakeholders defined with regard to the trade study process, and to approaches used for decision making. Through application of this trade study framework, stakeholders are identified as an integral part of the process, stakeholder preferences are analyzed and directly utilized for trade study decision making, and the interactions of stakeholders are captured to determine emerging stakeholders and stakeholder coalitions throughout the systems engineering life cycle. The framework described in this dissertation can be used by corporations and government agencies to establish a robust process for group decision management on projects including those that are long-term and complex, and that serve multiple diverse stakeholders. An added feature of the framework is that it can be implemented with spreadsheet software.

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