Date of Award

Fall 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management

Committee Director

Andres Sousa-Poza

Committee Member

Ariel Pinto

Committee Member

Cory Searcy

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E555 P35 2007


While making decisions under uncertainty, people are often unaware of the logical approach to form the decision process. It is assumed that collecting details, analyzing and evaluating data is enough to make 'proper' decisions. However, past research in the decision making arena has significantly validated that there exists a class of decision problems which is complex, ill-structured and not defined to the level where decision makers can draw logical conclusions based on existing traditional decision approaches. RDM (reverse decision making), one of the novel approaches of decision making under conditions of uncertainty, has shown potential towards addressing some of these ill-structured, chaotic problems.

Research group from the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (Old Dominion University) has validated the RDM approach at the exploratory level where some of the RDM constructs are verified. For instance, these RDM constructs include the following: under dynamic and consistently changing decision environments initial decisions are based on desired outcomes and their perceived feasibility; secondly, the sequence of events happening during the decision process significantly impact or alter the decision makers' confidence level of attaining the outcome at a given point in time. The postulation is that when confidence drops below an acceptable threshold or the desire to attain an outcome dissipates, the decision makers

shift to a new decision alternative. Nevertheless, there is a vital RDM component which is yet to be captured in RDM, and that is the effect of the decision maker's action on the confidence index in the selected decision alternative and the impact of those variations on the confidence index in the RDM process. Our research proposes that under the RDM process the outcome from the actions taken by decision makers to achieve a desired objective leads to change in their confidence index in the selected decision alternative. Further variations in these confidence indices also results in a positive or negative impact to the decision path selection.

The experimental study has been conducted to verify the proposed RDM constructs. The experimental results validated the correlation between the decision makers' action and their confidence index in the chosen decision alternative.


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