International Journal of Decision Support Systems (15 papers in press)
A tradeoff analysis between socio-economic efficiency and environmental performance of irrigated agriculture
by Panagiotis Mitropoulos, Konstantinos Vasileiou, Ioannis Mitropoulos
Abstract: European irrigated agriculture is very important in economic, social and environmental terms. A linear programming model that simulates the farmers behaviour in cropping selection was used to evaluate the impact on farm performance of intervention measures, namely i) volumetric pricing and ii) abstraction quota restrictions that might be used to ration water and/or increase water use efficiency. The consequences of these policy mechanisms were evaluated, using two conflicting objectives. The first objective enabled to maximize of the farmers' profit, while the second one represents the regulators perspective, to ration water more efficiently, by the minimizing the irrigated water use. The tradeoff analysis between the socio-economic efficiency and the environmental performance revealed the fragility of the farming systems in water scarcity. The results highlight the need for a more careful balance of water conservation and rural development objectives. The approach is illustrated using a case study on irrigated agriculture in East Midlands of England.
Keywords: Bi-objective model; Agricultural planning; Sustainability; Irrigation; Licensing; Water Pricing.
Service Quality Assessment in Retail Industry: Some Evidence from Supermarkets in Greece
by Athanasia Karakitsiou, Athanasia Mavrommati
Abstract: This study aims to investigate the service quality dimensions at supermarket stores. It uses a modified SERVQUAL approach to analyze the gap between perceptions and expectations of the customer, concerning the service provided by the retail units in Greece. The factor analysis technique is used to
extract the important factors on the basis of responses obtained from customers. The analysis reveals that six dimensions in service quality capture the content of quality in the Greek context. In addition, it reports that there exists a gap between the rating which customers assign to expectations and to perception statements. Generally, the results of the research show that the services offered by retail units have a positive impact and are significant in building customer satisfaction.
Keywords: service quality; SERVQUAL; retail industry; supermarkets; factor analysis; Greece.
Impact of a multi-criteria rating in e-commerce: the moderating effect of self-depletion on trust and purchase intention
by Virgile Schmit, Thierry Baccino
Abstract: Self-depletion is known to have a wide range of effects on the decision-making process. Two experimental studies investigate whether a purchase decision-making on an e-commerce product webpage is affected by the state of self-depletion when using a multi-criteria rating scale. A questionnaire was built to measure trust, distrust and purchase intention and was submitted to one hundred and twenty-two participants (categorised in two groups according to their self-depletion test) who have to judge different mp3 (Mpeg Audio Layer 3) players presented on a webpage. In both studies, the variance of ratings were investigated with the presence of a global rating (1st exp.) and the valence of the global rating (2nd exp.) of the products. Main results show that self-depletion moderated the effect of variance of the ratings on the judgment and also lead to a polarisation effect. Trust and purchase intention are highly correlated, while distrust is only loosely correlated to purchase intention, supporting the view of a dual trust-distrust construct, instead of a continuum.
Keywords: Electronic word-of-mouth; Self-Depletion; Trust; Purchase intention; Multi-dimensional rating; Multi-Criteria Decision Making.
SIM-UTA: Evaluating reorganization scenarios in a healthcare organization
by Panagiotis Manolitzas, Evangelos Grigoroudis, Nikolaos Matsatsinis, Athanasios Spyridakos
Abstract: Hospitals across the globe face the challenge to respond to public demand for more effective and transparent healthcare services. In order to optimize the services provided by hospital organizations, several methodological approaches have been developed in the operational research domain. The aim of this paper is to present a new methodology for the improvement of healthcare services in an emergency department of a hospital. The proposed SIM-UTA approach combines simulation techniques and MCDA tools (UTASTAR method) in order to help the management of the hospital to optimize specific aspects of the emergency departments operation. In order to illustrate the applicability of the methodological approach, a real-word case study in a Greek hospital is presented. The results show that the most important factor for the emergency department is the total length of stay, while the evaluation of several alternative reforms underline that the implementation of a fast track unit may give significant improvements. SIM-UTA may serve as a useful tools for decision support, taking into account several factor, like working loads, waiting times, length of stay etc.
Keywords: UTASTAR method; simulation; decision support; emergency department; hospitals.
Special Issue on: Decision Support Systems in Commerce, Logistics and Transportation
Diving into online ratings to determine hotels improvement priorities
by Ioannis Zisos, Evangelos Grigoroudis, Nikolaos Matsatsinis, Athanasios Spyridakos
Abstract: Online ratings and reviews are currently considered as extremely effective tools for tourism professionals. Current research reveals that they affect, like no advertisement does, guests vacation decisions. In this paper we build on existing large scale-survey on customers ratings to explore the determinants of tourists satisfaction in different hotel categories. The application of the MUSA method to online reviews has resulted in valuable conclusions regarding the quality of provided services, the identification of factors that influence customers satisfaction, and the prioritization of improvement that can improve customers satisfaction levels. Data are taken from the popular hotel booking website Hotels.com and the case study examines available hotels in Chania, Greece. The final recommendations have been mainly based on the estimated global and partial value functions, the criteria weights, and the average satisfaction, demanding, and improvement indices, as provided by the MUSA method.
Keywords: online ratings; MUSA method; hotels; tourist satisfaction; multicriteria decision analysis.
Using Kanos model to incorporate Six Sigma analysis in customer satisfaction measurement
by Yannis Politis, Evangelos Grigoroudis
Abstract: The Six Sigma approach has been well recognized as an important tool for continuous improvement and business excellence. It is a statistical concept that analyzes a process in terms of defects and can be used in order to measure the probability that companies can manufacture or produce any given unit of a product (or service) with zero defects. While many companies have adopted the concept of Six Sigma and zero defects in manufacturing processes few have extended it to customer satisfaction. Six Sigma can be used to measure the number of dissatisfied customers (defects) and can constitute a tool for developing strategies to improve customer satisfaction. Since sigma level can be used as a measure of the number of dissatisfied customers, it can be assumed that there is a direct relationship between satisfaction ratings and sigma levels. However, higher sigma levels for certain attributes do not necessarily translate to correspondingly higher customer satisfaction scores, while some attributes with higher satisfaction scores may not have a very high sigma level. This can be due to the different importance given by customers to the satisfaction criteria or their expectations on a set of quality characteristics. The main goal of this paper is to incorporate the concept of Six Sigma analysis in customer satisfaction measurement by introducing the principles of Kanos customer satisfaction model in order to derive important information for the selection of strategic actions. The proposed approach has been implemented in a real case study concerning the evaluation of customer satisfaction from Greek mobile service providers.
Keywords: Six Sigma; Customer Satisfaction; MUSA Method; Kano’s Model; Mobile Service Providers.
A Multicriteria Decision Support Approach for Redesigning e-Learning Systems
by Christos Kytagias, Yannis Psaromiligkos, George Dimakos
Abstract: In this paper we present a decision support approach for redesigning e-learning systems through the analysis of students' preferential structures. Our approach supports instructional designers to take decisions during the redesign process of an e-learning system by analyzing the students' preferential structures in the following dimensions: (a) the dimension of students' learning behavior (b) the dimension of students' learning performance and (c) the dimension of students' feedback. Our approach is based on a new method from the domain of Multicriteria Decision Making that provides weights of individuals' preferences which become input in a clustering process that determines groups of preferences among students. Based on these clusters we analyze the other three dimensions and we provide a framework for the decision making process capable to provide significant feedback for the redesign of the e-learning system. A case study is also described of the application of our approach in a real course.
Keywords: Multicriteria decision support approach; redesign e-learning systems; Weights Assessment through Prioritization (WAP); e-Learning Systems; analyzing students’ preferences; learning analytics.
Identifying Risks Factors of Students Failure in e-Learning Systems: Towards a Warning System
by Ioannis Georgakopoulos, Christos Kytagias, Yannis Psaromiligkos, Aggeliki Voudouri
Abstract: The radical changes that 21st century has brought about in the territory of education has increased the requirements of the underlying stakeholders for smarter tools capable to provide continuous and sophisticated feedback of the educational process. Decision Makers in this area need to make decisions at various points as well as at multiple levels during the life cycle of the educational process. Learning Management Systems (LMS) can provide decision support services which can be used to increase the learning effectiveness of the new mode of learning as well as the efficient organization of the institutional resources. Identifying students at risk is a major problem. In this paper we provide a framework and a detailed case study for identifying risks factors of students failure in e-Learning and a proposal of how an LMS can be transformed into a Warning System and provide decision support services to Decision Makers.
Keywords: Key words: e-learning systems; risk identification in e-learning; risk factors in e-learning; learning management systems.
Decision Support Systems for Strategic Information Systems Planning: An Approach for Logistics Strategic Management
by Fotis Kitsios, Maria Kamariotou
Abstract: As business environment is getting more and more turbulent, effective strategic management and decision-making is necessary, thus the implementation of Decision Support Systems (DSS) is considered crucial to sustain competitive advantage. Information Systems (IS) are used to collect information and to support the decision making to select the right strategy. In this view, Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) and its alignment with business planning improves business performance. An area where DSS have been widely applied is Logistics though surveys which indicate their strategic approach are limited. Although Logistics is the function which consists of the management of material and information flows and it is significant in satisfying customers' needs, researchers have just recently started paying attention in its strategic role. This paper proposes a strategic DSS framework which combines both the strategic management process and SISP to provide an approach so as to achieve effective decision making in Logistics.
Keywords: Decision Support Systems; Strategic Management; Business Strategy; Strategic Information Systems Planning; Logistics.
ANALYSIS OF GAS PIPELINE SYSTEM FROM A EUROPEAN ENERGY SECURITY PERSPECTIVE
by Athanasios Ballis, Tatiana Moschovou, Loukas Dimitriou
Abstract: Natural gas is an environmental friendly energy source used in various residential and industrial applications. The European Commission is a major gas consumer yet the local production satisfies only one third of the total demand, leading to significant gas imports. The issue of energy security is high in the agenda of Europe asking for the systematic investigation of all pertinent factors. To this aim a gas network model was developed and used for testing various demand and supply scenarios. Demand scenarios assume that although the total energy demand in Europe will remain at the today's level, the share of the natural gas will be increased as (a) more gas consumers will be added in the network from countries where the gas network is not fully expanded and (b) the share of CNG powered vehicles will be increased. Supply scenarios reflect the network status when the ongoing pipeline and port LNG projects will be finalised and when new projects (in planning phase) will be developed. The analysis performed revealed the importance of the gas corridor from Azerbaijan and Middle East via Turkey and Greece/Bulgaria to Europe as well as the significance of the LNG port installations for the diversification of gas suppliers and the alleviation of bottlenecks or supply interruptions in the pipeline network.
Keywords: Natural gas pipeline systems; gas network design; European energy security.
Special Issue on: 6th International Symposium and 28th National Conference on Operational Research Decision Support Models and Applications
Development of a Decision Support Tool for Analyzing the Avian Conservation Measures in Semi-Arid Region
by Mugdha Singh, Sunil Pratap Singh, A.K. Sinha, Preetvanti Singh
Abstract: Conservation of Aves has become a great concern for researchers because of their scientific and environmental significance. However, this is a complex decision making problem as it includes monitoring the birds, determining the reasons for decline in bird species, and devising conservation strategies. This paper documents the design and development of an intelligent decision support tool, to analyze the avian diversity and then suggests decision measures for effective conservation and management of avian fauna in a semi-arid region. The framework of the system involves measuring and mapping the biodiversity, analyzing the avian diversity, identifying and analyzing the threats, and formulating conservation and management strategies.
Keywords: Avian Diversity; Decision Support System; Intelligent Decision Making; Conservation; Management.
Decision Support Systems and Strategic Planning: Information Technology and SMEs Performance
by Fotis Kitsios, Maria Kamariotou
Abstract: The implementation of Decision Support Systems (DSS) is considered crucial to sustain competitive advantage because the business environment is getting more and more turbulent. Especially, Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) face challenges such as the lack of conscious planning, the lack of strategic decision making and sharing information and it is difficult to increase profitability. As effective strategic management and decision-making is necessary, Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) is used to collect information and to support the decision makers to formulate and implement the right strategy to develop DSS. Information Systems (IS) executives concentrate on technical issues and ignore the strategic plans of DSS. The aim of this paper is to examine how SISP contributes to a greater extent of profitability in SMEs. Data was collected using questionnaires to IS executives in SMEs, particularly in North Greece. The results indicate that managers should focus on implementing Situational Analysis with greater meticulousness, so that they can implement Strategy Conception and Strategy Implementation Planning with greater agility rather than now. This paper not only expands the current knowledge regarding the significance of SISP but also it enables managers to make the process better.
Keywords: Decision Support Systems; Strategic Management; Business Strategy; Strategic Information Systems Planning; Firm Performance.
An agent-based model to explore urban policies, pedestrian behavior and walkability.
by Georgios Tsaples, Giovanna Fancello
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to use the agent-based methodology both as a research tool to study pedestrian behaviour and a decision support system for urban authorities. The developed model represents an urban environment with its citizens/agents performing movements under different means and towards different destinations. Different scenarios, demonstrated that by improving the conditions of the environment people walk more and a bigger part of the environment is considered as favourite for walking. However, the incentivization to walk does not only affect the behaviour of peoples daily movements, but acts also as a positive influence to economic activity.
Keywords: agent-based model; pedestrian behavior; walkability; urban environment; decision support system.
A Multicriteria Based Ranking of Greek Construction Companies Listed in Athens Stock Exchange Using Investment Ratios
by Pantelis Vogiatzis, George Aretoulis, Jason Papathanasiou
Abstract: The construction sector has always been one of the main developmental branches of the Greek economy. Building activities and infrastructure projects were the backbone of the construction sector, while other activities from the mining, manufacturing, commerce and services sectors were integrated into the wider supply chain of construction. The aim of the present study is to firstly evaluate the performance and then rank the greatest construction companies, listed in the Athens Stock Exchange, using investment ratios. The research focuses on the period 2004-2014. Four companies are selected that are listed in Athens Stock Exchange and have a construction certificate of the 7th degree for public projects. The applied multicriteria methodology was PROMETHEE. The latter was implemented using the Visual Promethee software, in order to rank the selected companies. It is concluded that during the period 2004-2008, leading companies are those which their consolidated financial statements outweigh their corporate financial statements, whereas after 2008 when the financial crisis commenced, leading companies are regarded those which their consolidated financial statements are approximate to their corporate financial statements.
Keywords: Evaluation of construction companies; Investment attractiveness of construction companies; Investment ratios; Valuation ratios; Visual Promethee software.
An Intelligent Decision Support System for Managing Natural and Man-made Disasters
by Georgia Aifadopoulou, Emmanouil Chaniotakis, Iraklis Stamos, Sokratis Mamarikas, Evangelos Mitsakis
Abstract: Climate change-induced disasters, in accordance with those related to human activities, are lately gaining in both severity and intensity. In view of their associated increased impacts on human assets and systems, public and private stakeholders have lately turned their attention to efficiently and effectively managing their effects, both prior to an events occurrence, through better planning and protection, as well as during its temporal and spatial propagation at real-time through better operational adjustments and guidance to related authorities. In an effort to address this issue, the DECIDE project, funded by the IPA cross-border cooperation program, has developed, validated and tested under realistic conditions an intelligent Decision Support System (iDSS) for aiding public authorities in safe-proofing and protecting transport networks and operations in case of extreme weather events (EWE) and related natural hazards (NH). The iDSS is a web-based, GIS-enabled platform, able to suggest protection and management measures that optimally address occurring events, the affected modes of transport and transport networks and infrastructures. Optimal protection actions are derived from a database containing measures, strategies and policies that have been deployed at EU level in the last decades. In the framework of this paper, the iDSS architecture and main functional characteristics are presented, together with insights for its transferability to other locations.
Keywords: Disaster Management; Decision Support Systems; Open Source; GIS; Extreme Conditions Traffic Measures;.