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The Effects of Splitting Attributes on Weights in Multiattribute Utility Measurement

Martin Weber, Franz Eisenführ and Detlof von Winterfeldt
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Franz Eisenführ: Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Allgemeine Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Templergraben 64, 5100 Aachen, Federal Republic of Germany
Detlof von Winterfeldt: Systems Science Department, Institute of Safety and Systems Management, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-0021

Management Science, 1988, vol. 34, issue 4, 431-445

Abstract: This study examined how weights in multiattribute utility measurement change when objectives are split into more detailed levels. Subjects were asked to weight attributes in value trees containing three objectives which were specified by either three, four, five, or six attributes. The robust finding was that the more detailed parts of the value tree were weighted significantly higher than the less detailed ones. This overweighting bias was found for several weighting techniques, but the techniques that used holistic judgments to derive weights were affected somewhat less than techniques that used decomposed attribute weights. This bias is interpreted in terms of the increased salience and availability of attributes that are spelled out in more detail.

Keywords: multiattribute utility; value trees; structuring (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1988
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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:34:y:1988:i:4:p:431-445