Multiple Criteria Decision Making; MCDM
GUIDELINES FOR WRITING THE REPORT FOR ASSIGNMENT
1 Your work should be word processed and charts, pictures, etc should be inserted into the document prior to printing. A high standard of presentation and English are expected. The document should not contain typing, numerical, grammatical, format or presentational errors (marks will be deducted for such errors). Avoid gimmicky graphics or overly-informal language and try to write in a scientific style (i.e. in the third person and past tense). The minimum font size allowed is Times Roman 12 and charts should be correctly formatted with appropriate labels, legends, etc.
2 You should imagine you are a decision analyst writing a report for a client even if the client is yourself. Technical details, detailed information, etc should be put in appendices. You must submit any files generated by analytical software or spreadsheets.
3 The word count of the report should be 2500 or less, exclude references and appendices. Try to avoid using dense paragraphs of text – use bullet points and tables where you can. Your report should be concise and ‘to the point’ and refer to source material where appropriate (see below).
4 The report should be well structured, with numbered pages and sections, and typically include (although you may have further sections or subsections):
5 ALL the work must be conducted and written up on your own. You must NOT share or collaborate
6 Any plagiarism from source/reference material or other student’s work will be penalised and may result in a mark of zero
7 References should be in Harvard style [e.g. Wilson (2003) suggests that Gantt charts have been in existence for almost a century]. If you quote from a reference the quote should be in quotation marks and the page number should be given, [e.g. “PERT and CPM are basically time-oriented methods” (Taha, 1992, p.450)]
All references should be included in an alphabetical list at the end of your report, e.g.
TAHA, H.A. (1992) Operations Research, An Introduction, 4th Edition, Macmillan Publishing Company.
WILSON, J. M. (2003) Gantt charts: A centenary appreciation, European Journal of Operational Research, 149, 430-437.
The following is an example of a possible topic. You may use this case as your individual project, buts self-identified and business related decision problem is favoured. A list of potential topics is given after the example.
Yaoming Wang’s Job Selection
Yaoming Wang is a Master student of the Manchester Business School. In the past few months he has been involved in the job search process. He has an excellent resume with a high grade point average and a strong record of campus participation in clubs and activities. As a result, he has had a number of good interviews with various companies. He now has job offers from five companies — Enterprise Systems Developers, ABC Consulting, National Computing Software Systems (NCSS), the Bank of South, and Electronic Village.
Enterprise Systems Developers and ABC Consulting are both large national consulting firms with offices in several major cities. If Yaoming accepted the offer of either of these firms, he would primarily work on project teams assigned to develop decision support and information systems for corporate clients around the country. If he went with Enterprise Systems Developers, his base would be in Shanghai (??), and if he accepted ABC’s offer he would be located in Beijing (??). However, in both cases he would be travelling a great deal and could sometimes be on the road at a client location for as much as six to nine months. NCSS is a software and computer systems development company with a campus-like location in Zhuhai (??). Although his job with NCSS would involve some travelling, it would never be more than several weeks at any one time. Bank of South is a bank holding company that operates eight different banks and its various branches in six south-eastern provinces. If Yaoming accepted Bank of South’s offer, he would be located in Hainan (??) where he would work in its operations system area. He would be involved in developing information and support systems for bank operations and he would have minimal travel. Electronic Village is a national chain of discount stores specialising in electronic products such as televisions, stereos, CD players, VCRs, and computers. His job with Electronic Village would be at its corporate headquarters in his home city Dongguan (??), where he would be developing and maintaining computer systems to be used for inventory control at the hundreds of Electronic Village stores across the country. He would be required to travel very little.
Enterprise Systems Developers has offered Yaoming a starting salary of ¥7600 per month, and ABC Consulting has offered him ¥8200 per month. NCSS has offered him a monthly salary of ¥9200, whereas Bank of South has offered him ¥7000 per month, and Electronic Village has offered him a salary of ¥6400 per month.
Yaoming has a difficult time in making his decision. All the companies have excellent reputation, are financially healthy, and have good opportunities for advancement. All are demanding in terms of the workload they require. All five companies have given Yaoming only a few weeks to make a decision regarding their offers.
Yaoming has decided to use a multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method to help him decide which job offer he should accept. He has developed a list of criteria that are important to him in deciding which job to take. The criteria in no particular order are: (1) salary; (2) cost of living in the city where he would be located; (3) amount of travel associated with his job; (4) climate (weather) where he would be located; (5) entertainment and cultural opportunities including sports, theatre, museums, parks, and so on; (6) universities where he can work on an MBA degree part-time and at night; (7) the crime rate in the city where he would live; (8) the nature of the job and what he would be doing; and (9) his proximity to friends and relatives. Yaoming realises that he has very limited information on which to compare the five jobs based on most of these criteria so he knows he needs to go to the library and do some research, especially on the five different job locations.
Put yourself in Yaoming’s shoes and use all or some of his criteria and your own preferences and knowledge to help him assess and analyse the jobs using the concepts, theory, methods and tools you have studied in the “Performance Assessment and Decision Support” course.
The following suggestions may help you to identify a project:
1. Are you interested in analysing some environmental policy in China or evaluating different pollution reduction strategies for a factory or a city? You may identify available options and analyse which option is most cost effective.
2. Are you planning your future career? What would you like to do after graduation: carry on studying (such as for a PhD), look for a job, go back to your home country immediately, or stay in the UK to gain some working experience? What uncertainty can you face? What are the gains and losses of each option?
3. Are your relatives and/or friends in si+9tuations to evaluate different options and make a decision? If so, you may help them identify and structure the decision making problems and develop appropriate assessment criteria to support the decision making process.
4. You may look back at how you selected your universities and programmes for your BSc or MSc studies, mobile phones, computers, personal data assistants (PDA), cars, satellite navigators (GPS), etc. Did you collect information about them? Did you identify a number of options? What criteria did you use? What was the most important criterion, the next important one, etc.? You may base your coursework on one of such decisions you have made before.
5. Are you going to make a relatively important investment or purchase decision, such as buying a house? If so, you may use the case as your personal coursework project?
6. Have you ever been indecisive? What was the problem? This could be a case for your coursework project.
Generally, there are no right or wrong answers to each of the above or other decision problems. You need to show your ability to apply concepts, methods, procedures and tools learned in classroom to analyse practical decision problems, justify the relative weights of criteria and shapes of utility or value functions of some criteria, identify uncertain factors, and explain the effects of the uncertainties to the outcomes of your analysis.
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