Title: On importance assessment and expertise in non-routine decisions: an exploratory study on the cognition of the weighting process of capital goods' attributes
Author: Hans Heerkens, Beatrice Van der Heijden
Address: School of Management, Public Administration and Technology, Department of Operational Methods for Production and Logistics, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. School of Management, Public Administration and Technology, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Journal: Int. J. of Management and Decision Making, 2002 Vol.3, No.3/4, pp.370-398
Abstract: How do actors involved in the acquisition of capital goods assess the importance of their attributes? What is the role of expertise? Numerous instruments exist for measuring the importance attached to attributes, but little is known about the importance assessment process that precedes these importance judgments. Expectations concerning the behaviour of actors facing non-routine importance assessment problems are tested, yielding some interesting results. Firstly, the behaviour of these actors is consistent with a newly developed phase model. Even with a non-routine problem, structuring the assessment problem takes less effort than the actual weighting. Surprisingly, weighting attributes in isolation gets much more emphasis than weighting them against each other, despite the latter being the essence of importance judgments. Despite the subjects being laymen, they showed high confidence in their work. Finally, predictions concerning the behaviour of experts are made, based on Van der Heijden's dimensions of expertise.
Keywords: attribute weighting; decision theory; expertise; importance; utility.